Leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) gathers at the Gleneagles Hotel of Scotland on Wednesday for their summit and their dialogue with China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico (8+5 Dialogue).
The following are some major facts about the annual summit.
The G8, which evolved from the G7, consists of the world's eight leading industrialized powers -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and Russia.
In November 1975, in the wake of the serious global economic crisis after World War II, leaders of France, the United States, the then West Germany, Japan, Britain and Italy gathered in France for their first economic summit to discuss the global economic situation and coordinate policies to reinvigorate their economies.
The group of the six developed countries welcomed its seventh member in June 1976 when Canada joined the group at the G7 Summit, or the so-called Seven Western Countries Summit Conference, in San Juan, capital of Puerto Rico.
Since then, G7 members have taken turns to host the economic summit each year.
In July 1991, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was invited to meet with the G7 leaders after their conference. And Moscow has since continued its participation in the annual "seven plus one" dialogue held following the summit. Russia was finally granted the right to join in discussions on political issues in 1994.
The G7 summit became a G8 event in Denver, the United States, in 1997, when the then Russian President Boris Yeltsin was invited to fully participate in the summit, and the final communique was issued in the name of the eight leaders for the first time.
Despite the name change, Russia's participation has been limited to political issues and the former G7 regime remains intact in terms of economic discussions.
Traditionally, summits have mainly been focused on economic discussions and the coordination of macroeconomic policies of member countries. However, political issues have been put high on the agenda in recent years.
Prior to the 2003 summit in France's Evian, an informal South- North dialogue meeting between G8 leaders and 11 developing countries, including China, was also held for discussions on cooperation, development, the environment, public health and other issues of common concern.
Chinese President Hu Jintao is scheduled to attend the 8+5 Dialogue this year and hold talks with India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico. He is expected to expound China's stand on the international situation and make proposals for the resolution of global problems.