SEOUL: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrives in Seoul this afternoon to attend the second Nuclear Security Summit.
The two-day meeting hosted by South Korean President Lee Myung Bak will review progress made in measures to enhance nuclear security at both national and international levels.
The gathering follows the inaugural Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington DC in the United States two years ago, which the Singapore premier also attended.
Other leaders slated to attend the Seoul summit include US President Barack Obama and China's President Hu Jintao.
A total of 53 countries and four international organisations will be represented at the gathering.
The top issue on the agenda is ensuring that materials capable of being turned into nuclear weapons do not fall into the wrong hands - a matter of particular concern to South Korea, which considers North Korea its chief national security threat and feels it has everything to lose from weak oversight of nuclear materials.
While North Korea's nuclear programme is not on the official agenda of the summit, Pyongyang's recent declaration that it will launch a satellite atop a long-range missile next month has reignited concerns about its nuclear weapons plans.
South Korea itself is a growing player in the global nuclear industry, as both an exporter of nuclear materials and a customer in the market for nuclear reactors.
The Seoul summit will also consider the interface between nuclear security and nuclear safety - a pertinent topic following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan a year ago.
Analysts believe there will be a distinct difference in emphasis between the American and Chinese positions at the summit, with the US seeking to reaffirm its existing stance on nuclear non-proliferation and China focusing more on the security of nuclear power plants.
The US is the world's largest nuclear power. Its 104 nuclear plants produce 30 per cent of the world's nuclear energy output.
China lags far behind, with just 14 reactors in operation, 25 under construction and another 50 in the pipeline.
Singapore has said that it is studying the feasibility of nuclear energy, but has no plans to build any reactor as yet.
A statement from the Prime Minister's Office said Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean will be Acting Prime Minister while Mr Lee is away in Seoul.
Mr Lee will be accompanied by Mrs Lee, officials from the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Environment Agency.