SEOUL - Japan steered off the agenda at a nuclear security summit on Tuesday to hit out at North Korea's plans for a rocket launch next month, as US President Barack Obama cautioned against complacency in dealing with the threat of nuclear terrorism.
A communique issued at the end of the two-day meeting of more than 50 world leaders in Seoul was light on specifics on how to reduce the risk of atomic materials falling into bad hands, loosely calling for all vulnerable material to be secured in four years. The world's biggest nuclear concerns, those surrounding the weapons programs of North Korea and Iran, were not on the agenda at the summit, and neither country was invited. The forum is meant to deal only with safeguarding nuclear materials and facilities and preventing trafficking.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda ignored protocol and urged the international community to strongly demand North Korea exercise self-restraint over next month's planned rocket launch.
"The planned missile launch North Korea recently announced would go against the international community's nuclear non-proliferation effort and violate UN Security Council resolutions," Noda said in an opening speech. No other major leaders mentioned North Korea's nuclear ambitions or the ballistic missile launch.
North Korea said last week it would consider it a "provocation" if its "nuclear issue is placed on the agenda at the Seoul summit" and if any statement is issued against the North for pursuing such a program.