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What is to be discussed at G8 Summit?
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15:45, July 07, 2008

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The Group of Eight (G8), comprising Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Britain and the United States, is scheduled to take place on July 7-9 at the Lake Toya (Toyako) in Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido. According to the agenda, the G8 leaders meet with their counterparts from seven African countries on Monday or July 7, the summit's first day. They will discuss, among other topics, the world economy, global warming, food crisis, and aid to Africa on Tuesday, or July 8 and, on Wednesday, or July 9, they will proceed to hold talks with the heads of state of the Russia-Brazil-India-South Africa-China newly emerging economies.

The most eminent, outstanding issue in this year's global economy is soaring energy and food prices, which have given rise to the global inflation. The global economic prosperity, which sustained for a couple of years, has arrived at a crossroad. The situation is increasingly faced with an imminent danger as it evolves the basic demands of humanity for survival in many places worldwide and set off social instability. The sharp devaluation of the U.S. currency is right behind global inflation. So it poses a vital topic at the G8 summit to cope with global inflation and contain the dollar devaluation.

On the issue of energy crisis, Japan and Britain have urged that the G8 group should take joint moves to impose pressures upon the oil producing countries and appeal to them to raise oil output and increase oil supplies, but it is doubtful whether their demand will get a response from the U.S.

Some noted economists or scholars hold that US dollar devaluation affects oil prices directly, which is related also to financial speculation on the global financial markets, whereas the U.S. can alleviate and even dissolve its financial debt (or loan) crisis by capitalizing on the latest developments of the situation. Even if leaders of the G8 nations are able to reach consensuses on the issue, no instant results are likely to be achieved.

Energy crisis has posed a long-term crisis facing the humanity. To allay this crisis, it seems that all countries concerned should change or alter their ways of production, intensify their efforts to save energy, and exert their utmost to make the sources of energy diversified, sustainable and renewable.

On the question of global warming, as Japan has claimed, the G8 summit will not reach any final decision on the greenhouse gas emission as this endeavor is within the jurisdiction of the United Nations. If some countries are ready to make commitments in this regard, however, it represents their sound biological morality conduct. Japan has been positioned to establish itself as a leading power in environmental protection over recent years. So it has put up its "best show" for the environmental protection during the G8 Hokkaido Toyako summit, such as the the use of melted ice and snow that have been stored to cool the summit venue and to put into (trial) use of all-electric cars during the summit. It is still very difficult, however, for Japan to fulfill the emission reduction quotas set in the "Kyoto Protocol" it had agreed to.

The situation remains grave and stark on the global grain safety issue this year. Anyway, it is unreasonable to ascribe the soaring of food prices to China, India and a few other newly-emerged counties as both China and India have shown a downward trend in the volumes of their food grains imports over the last three decades. Meanwhile, a rein on the taping of bio-fuel only produces a transient effect for a short term but, on a long run, the pooling of more resources into agriculture and the spread of the conservation mode will tackle the problem at its root.

The invitation of leaders of major African countries to the summit has made the current G8 summit even more open. The G8 has taken some positive measures on the issue of aid to Africa. The development of Africa, fundamentally speaking, is bound to be an "internally growing" process, whereas the foothold of external aid should be aimed to uplift its intrinsic motive power. The G8 group still has a room for further improvement.

The G8 group has stepped up its ties and dialogues with developing countries and this poses an active momentum over recent years. And it is conducive to the South/North dialogues, to the development of multilateralism and to a spur toward the settlement of global issues.

Meanwhile, the ongoing G8 summit will also have other topics for deliberation. For example, Japan would possibly raise the issue regarding the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). There are hopely some bilateral meetings at the sidelines of the summit to discuss bilateral or international issues. In short, the summit is initially scheduled to last only three days, and talks on some topics are likely to be addressed casually.

By People's Daily Online and its author PD Senior Desk Editor Huang Qing

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