The Latest: US, allies aim for nuclear-free Korean Peninsula


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the nuclear security summit convened by President Barack Obama in Washington (all times local):

12:35 p.m.

President Barack Obama says the U.S., South Korea and Japan are working to make the Korean Peninsula nuclear-free.

Obama is meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (shin-zoh ah-bay) and South Korean President Park Geun-hye (goon-hay) as they attend a nuclear security summit in Washington.

North Korea’s recent nuclear tests and rocket launch are causing concerns in the region and beyond.

Obama says the leaders discussed how to address the North Korean threat and nuclear proliferation. He says they also spoke about global challenges including climate change and cancer research.

Park says it’s important to enforce a U.N. Security Council resolution regarding North Korea — and that the North is certain to face stiffer penalties if there are further provocations.

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12:10 p.m.

Georgia’s president says Moscow’s support for separatists is hampering efforts to prevent smuggling of nuclear and radiological materials along Russia’s borders.

Giorgi Margvelashvili is in Washington for a nuclear security hosted by President Barack Obama.

The Georgian leader tells The Associated Press that it’s difficult to know what’s being smuggled through two breakaway territories of Georgia where Russian troops are stationed.

In recent years, Georgian investigators have arrested smugglers with nuclear or radioactive material — sometimes trafficked through the breakaway regions.

More than 50 countries and international organizations are attending the summit, but Russian leaders are skipping it, amid tensions with Washington.

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11:25 a.m.

A Chinese official says Beijing is committed to improving nuclear security, including the threat of cyberattacks on power plants.

Xu Dazhe (shoo dah-juh) leads the China Atomic Energy Authority. He’s in Washington for a summit on preventing nuclear terrorism and countering nuclear smuggling.

Xu says China is working with the U.S. and other nuclear powers on control and safety measures. He says cyberattacks “present a very serious threat to our power industry, financial industry and nuclear facilities.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) is set to meet President Barack Obama later Thursday.

Nuclear safety is seen as an area of cooperation between the two world powers, but cybersecurity is a source of tension.

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10:25 a.m.

President Barack Obama says more must be done to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

He’s calling on Russia to further reduce its nuclear weapons stockpile. He says the U.S. and its allies will continue standing up to North Korea over its continued nuclear tests and missile launches.

Obama says achieving a world without nuclear weapons won’t happen quickly and perhaps not in his lifetime. But he says the work has begun.

He’s making his views known in an opinion piece in The Washington Post as world leaders assemble in Washington a nuclear security summit.

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9:45 a.m.

Dozens of world leaders are gathering in the nation’s capital for a summit on nuclear security hosted by President Barack Obama.

It’s the fourth such summit Obama has held focused on preventing nuclear terrorism and countering nuclear smuggling.

This one follows deadly attacks in Paris, California, Belgium, Pakistan and elsewhere, heightening fears about what extremists could do using nuclear material.

Obama is setting aside time to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (shin-zoh ah-bay) and South Korean President Park Geun-hye (goon-hay). Both U.S. allies are concerned about recent nuclear tests and a rocket launch by neighboring North Korea.

Obama also plan meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) and French President Francois Hollande.