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  1. ITV Report

Obama visits 'freedom's frontier'

President Barack Obama during a news conference in South Korea today. Photo: Reuters

South Korea is set to host 50 world leaders at a two-day nuclear security summit starting on Monday, to discuss ways to safeguard nuclear materials and facilities from terrorist groups.

President Obama today visited the border between North and South Korea, as Angus Walker reports.

President Obama met with South Korean troops along the border and said.

You guys are at freedom's frontier

– US President Barack Obama

The visit coincides with North Korea's latest attempt to send a satellite to space in the middle of April to coincide with the 100th birth anniversary of North Korea's founder Kim II Sung.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and President Obama said they agreed that if North Korea goes ahead with the launch they would be violating U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang's use of ballistic missile technology.

President Obama said:

North Korea will achieve nothing by threats or by provocations. North Korea knows its obligations and it must take irreversible steps to meet those obligations.

– US President Barack Obama

The summit is the highest-level meeting Korea has hosted. President Obama will meet Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Japanese Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko.

The goal of the large gathering of world leaders is to secure nuclear material and prevent it from being smuggled to states or groups intent on mass destruction.

A missile launched during testing in Iran, in 2010. Credit: Reuters

Here are the Official Nuclear powers.

THE UNITED STATES:

  • The United States used nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 at the end of World War Two, making it the only country ever to use nuclear weapons during a conflict.
  • Under a new treaty, the United States and Russia are to limit the number of operationally deployed nuclear warheads to 1,550. The new treaty entered into force in February 2011.
  • The new treaty entered into force in February 2011.
US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signing Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in April 2010. Credit: Reuters

RUSSIA:

  • The Soviet nuclear weapon programme began during World War Two and culminated in anatomic bomb test in 1949.
  • By October 2010, Russia's strategic nuclear arsenal had been reduced to approximately 2,660 warheads. Further reductions arerequired under the new START treaty, ratified by the Russian Duma in January 2011.
  • Russia inherited a massive nuclear weapons production complexand large stocks of weapons grade fissile material (capable of sustaining a chain reaction of nuclear fission).

FRANCE:

  • France detonated its first nuclear bomb in Feb. 1960, and carried out its final nuclear tests in January 1996 - tests at sites in the Saharaand on Pacific atolls.
  • In 2008, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the country would leave its submarine missile arsenalin place while cutting its stock of air-launched weapons by a third to around 290 warheads.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (centre) will be attending the summit. Credit: Reuters

BRITAIN:

  • The current nuclear stockpile consists of fewer than 180 strategic warheads that can be deployed on four Vanguard-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN).
  • The 2010 Defence Review further reduced the maximum number of deployed missiles to 40 per submarine, part of a plan to limit operational nuclear weapons to 120 within coming years.
China are guarded when sharing information about their nuclear weapons. Credit: Reuters

CHINA:

  • China's nuclear weapons programme began in 1955 and it has since conducted 45 nuclear tests, including tests of thermonuclear weapons and a neutron bomb.
  • China closely guards information about its nuclear arsenal. However, the U.S. Department of Defense has said that China has approximately 130-195 deployed nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.

NORTH KOREA:

  • North Korea promised to abandon its nuclear programme in 2005 but later backed away from the agreement, testing nuclear devices in October 2006 and May 2009.
  • North Korea is believed to have enough fissile material to make up to a dozen nuclear bombs, and in November 2010 unveiled a uranium enrichment facility in addition to its plutonium programme, opening a second route to making a weapon.
  • Six-party talks between North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China, Russia, and the United States began in 2003 with the goal of denuclearising the Korean peninsula. The talks were suspended in April 2009 after the North launched a ballistic missile.
  • North Korea this month announced a plan to launch a satellite with a long-range rocket.
Nuclear power plant in Iran. Credit: Reuters

Other nuclear countries include India and Pakistan. Undeclared nuclear nations are believed to be Israel and Iran.