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As world leaders grapple with intensified nuclear security threats, they should not be distracted by the immediate urgency of safeguarding nuclear facilities and slack off in addressing the fundamental problem of terrorism.
Eliminating the root causes of terrorism is essential to nuclear security, as that's the only way to solve the issue at its source, ultimately removing hidden dangers and effectively preventing nuclear terrorism.
After the tragic attacks in Brussels last week that killed more than 30 people and wounded scores, the international community once again finds itself rattled and terrified. Meanwhile, the specter of the November Paris attacks that claimed 130 lives still lingers.
The lingering fear and shock are not only caused by the repeated acts of terror, but also by the startling news that the suicide bombers in the Brussels attacks were originally considering an attack on a nuclear site in Belgium and then were forced to change targets because of a series of arrests, as reported by the Belgian DH newspaper.
It could have been worse. The combination of terrorism and nuclear materials certainly constitutes a nightmare for humanity, and that's why it's urgent for all countries to work together to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands.
But how? Preventing terrorists from approaching and entering nuclear sites might sound like a plan, except that nuclear power plant workers can indeed turn to the side of the Islamic State, posing a serious threat from the inside, just like the two workers from a plant in Doel of Belgium, as the Daily Mail reported.
Besides, experts have also warned that terrorists could even launch cyberattacks against nuclear power plants, which would be hard to predict and prevent.
In order to eradicate such risk factors and effectively stem threats of nuclear terrorism, reinforced global efforts must be put in place to strike terrorism and completely eliminate its root causes.
The process will not be successful until the Western countries, especially the United States, reflect on and change their anti-terror strategies, which are based on self-interests and geopolitical considerations, and feature double standards in fighting terrorism.
Such hypocrisy has been repeatedly shown, including in the case of China's first anti-terror law, which Washington denounced by saying it "would do more harm than good," and in the case of the Kunming rail station attack in 2014, when Uncle Sam refused to call the attackers "terrorists" even though they brutally stabbed 31 people to death.
It's pressing that relative parties abandon outdated hostility and prejudice and be willing to use all possible resources to fight terrorism. The arduous task would need a wide range of countries to participate.
Meanwhile, efforts should also be made in promoting economic development and reducing poverty in war-torn countries and beyond, in order to wipe out the breeding ground for terrorism, as Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out during his visit to the Middle East in January.
As the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington draws close, world leaders should be wary of the tendency to focus too much on enacting specific measures to safeguard nuclear security, but neglect the importance of fighting terrorism as a whole.
After all, it's the root causes, rather than symptoms, that deserve more attention and demand an ultimate solution. Enditem