the rest of [Meeting of the Minds?]

发布时间:2020-03-26 来源: 散文精选 点击:

  TOP POWERS: G-8 leaders, together with Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen (second right) and European Commission President Jose Barroso, pose for a family photo after their summit meeting in St. Petersburg
  For the first time since regular meetings of the leaders of the world’s richest countries were initiated in 1975, Russia, which formally joined the “club” in 1997, assumed the rotating chairmanship of the group this year. July 15-17, the leaders of the Group of Eight (G-8) leading industrial nations met in St. Petersburg, Russia, the old imperial capital, for their annual summit. This marked the first time that Russia has hosted a G-8 meeting, enabling it to set the agenda and highlight its own interests and concerns.
  Discussions also were held between the leaders of the member countries and their colleagues from six developing countries--Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa and Republic of Congo--as well as heads of major international organizations. Dominating the agenda of the three-day forum were global energy security, the development of modern education systems and the fight against disease--the priority issues of the Russians--as well as globalization, international trade and the African development.
  The areas of consensus reached during the summit were enshrined in 21 documents covering a broad range of topics. The question now is whether they can be implemented. Many experts say the summit can be considered a practical success in this regard, for concrete commitments have been made and there is optimism over their implementation.
  In the area of international affairs, specifically the latest flare-up of fighting in the Middle East, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi expressed his country’s determination to contribute to a possible peacekeeping operation in Lebanon at the press conference following the summit. “[British Prime Minister Tony] Blair, [UN Secretary General] Kofi Annan and myself have been in intensive discussions on the possibility of an international operation in the south of Lebanon. Italy reaffirms its readiness to make an essential contribution to the implementation of this idea when the final decision is made,” Prodi said.
  HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Russian President Vladimir Putin presents a bouquet to German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the summit on July 17 for her 52nd birthday
  Speaking at a briefing a day after the group’s release of a statement on the Middle East, U.S. State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack commented, “The statement is really, if you will, an action plan. It lays out a roadmap to try to address these various issues.”
  And in the area of public health, after attending the summit, Anders Nordstrom, Acting Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), described the commitments taken by the G-8 nations as detailed, concrete and putting them in a leading position in global health services.
  However, some international experts think the symbolic significance of the summit is larger than the real effect. “Since the G-8 meeting’s mechanism came into being, it has never been targeted at solving concrete problems. Rather, as an instrument of agenda setting, it tries to identify issues of major concerns to these countries,” said Shi Yinhong, professor at the School of International Studies of Renmin University of China.   He cited the North Korean nuclear issue as an example. He said not all G-8 countries have the same stake in this issue since some are geographically far from Northeast Asia. He believed the G-8’s statement on North Korea could not solve the problem since China, the country able to exert the most influence over North Korea, is not a formal member of the G-8 discussions. Shi also said he was pessimistic that the joint statement on trade would lead to a successful conclusion of the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round of trade negotiations.
  China’s perspective
  CLOSE NEIGHBORS: Chinese President Hu Jintao meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-8 summit, the second bilateral meeting between the two leaders in four months
  For China, the G-8 meetings offer substantial benefits, experts say, although it is not a member of the group. “China’s status on the international stage has been enhanced with each presence at the G-8 summit,” commented Liu Saili, Associate Professor at the China Foreign Affairs University.
  Chinese President Hu Jintao’s appearance in St. Petersburg marks the third time that China has participated in “outreach sessions” of the G-8 summits since 2003. In addition to several speeches, Hu held a series of bilateral meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President George W. Bush, French President Jacques Chirac, Italian Prime Minister Prodi, Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou-Nguesso and South African President Thabo Mbeki. Notably, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was excluded from Hu’s meeting list due to the chilly political relations between China and Japan.
  Hu’s three public speeches at the summit summarized and elaborated on China’s stances on international issues of common concerns.
  At the meeting of the leaders of six developing countries on July 16, Hu offered three proposals for strengthening cooperation among developing countries. He urged industrial countries to fulfill their commitments to reduce poverty and advance international development cooperation, to work for the successful conclusion of the Doha Round trade negotiations and to deepen South-South cooperation. The Chinese president also called on the international community to pay more attention to Africa’s stability and development, and to further aid African countries.
  In his speech to the outreach session, Hu spelled out China’s views on energy security, fighting communicable diseases and education. On energy security, the dominant issue, Hu identified three priority areas for further effort.
  First, cooperation should be enhanced for mutual benefit in energy development and utilization. Second, a system for research and development and the extension of advanced energy technologies needs to be put in place. Third, efforts should be made to maintain a sound political climate favorable to energy security and stability. Hu also summarized China’s energy strategy as giving high priority to conservation, relying mainly on domestic supply, developing diverse energy sources, protecting the environment, stepping up international cooperation and ensuring the stable supply of economical and clean energy.   Addressing the luncheon meeting of the outreach session, Hu called on his colleagues to show the political resolve to push forward the Doha Round of trade talks.
  Professor Shi said that China, in attending the G-8 summits, needed to ease Western countries’ concerns over its development by clarifying its policies and intentions and voicing its own concerns and demands as the world’s largest developing country.
  Liu of the China Foreign Affairs University said that, compared with other channels for expounding China’s diplomacy and policies, such as speeches at the UN or talks with visiting leaders, the G-8 summit offers an even better pulpit because of its high-profile status and the international media attention it garners.
  Triangle strategy
  When foreign ministers from Russia, India and China held an exclusive meeting for the first time in June 2005 in Russia, the Russian daily newspaper Kommersant commented that the event fulfilled the dream of former Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov, who in 1998 envisioned the creation of a “strategic Moscow-Beijing-New Delhi triangle” to curb U.S. influence.
  The dream of the triangle had its sequel at the summit, as Putin hosted the first ever China-Russia-India summit meeting. According to The Times of India, Putin noted that the trilateral summit was the “natural outcome” of the work started by the foreign ministers of the three nations, who had had two meetings on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York and last year met in the Russian port city of Vladivostok. Putin was also quoted as saying, “Our approaches on key world problems are very close or, as the diplomats say, practically identical.”
  “This is the tactic used by Putin to enhance Russia’s image and stake in confronting the United States, which sent a message that although we three are relatively less developed, our strength cannot be ignored if we unite,” said Liu. She believes the trilateral summit could be regularized and play a more important role now that the first step has been taken.
  However, Shi said he thinks the significance of the three-country summit should not be overestimated. He argued that it is impossible to form a strategic alliance among the three countries since they all maintain complicated and intimate relations with the United States. “The G-8 summit is above all an unofficial forum and a platform for multilateral meetings and the China-Russia-India summit is only one of them,” he said.
  Excerpts from the Chairman’s Summary
  Global energy security
  We adopted the St. Petersburg Plan of Action to enhance global energy security through efforts to increase the transparency, predictability and stability of the global energy markets, improve the investment climate in the energy sector, promote energy efficiency and energy conservation, diversify the energy mix, ensure the physical safety of critical energy infrastructure, reduce energy poverty and address climate change and sustainable development.   In this plan we undertook to reduce barriers to energy investment and trade, making it possible for companies from energy producing and consuming countries to invest in and acquire upstream and downstream assets internationally. We also stressed the need for better risk-sharing between all stakeholders in the energy supply chain through economically sound diversification between different types of contracts, including market-based long-term and spot contracts, timely decision-making and appropriate adherence and enforcement of contractual agreements.
  Education for innovative societies in the 21st century
  We are resolved to encourage investment in the “knowledge triangle”--education, including lifelong learning, research and innovation. We shall promote cooperation with the private sector to foster diverse, efficient, sustainable higher education institutions.
  We shall facilitate the wider use of information and communication technologies, enhance standards in mathematics, science, technology and foreign languages, and support the engagement of highly qualified teachers in these critical areas.
  We underlined the need to increase exchanges in science and technology and other areas of education at all levels and promote better understanding, recognition and transparency of foreign qualifications and educational outcomes. In this connection Russia proposed the establishment of an expert group to develop criteria and procedures for evaluating educational outcomes and qualifications. The group could include representatives of state organizations, business and civil society.
  Fight against infectious diseases
  We will seek to enhance international capacities to monitor and respond to outbreaks of infectious diseases through the establishment of new laboratories and strengthening the WHO Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network.
  Aware of the threat posed by avian influenza, we will cooperate closely with each other and with relevant international organizations and other partners in preparing for a possible human influenza pandemic. We called on donors to honor commitments made at the International Pledging Conference on Avian and Human Pandemic Influenza. The G-8 members also welcomed the Russian presidency’s proposal to establish the WHO Collaborating Center on Influenza for Eurasia and Central Asia to enhance the international capacity to counter the spread of the virus.
  We reaffirmed our commitments to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and agreed to work further with other donors to mobilize resources for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and to continue to pursue [virtually] universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment for those who need it by 2010. We also resolved to support the Global Plan to Stop Tuberculosis aimed at saving up to 14 million lives by 2015 and to provide resources in cooperation with African countries to scale up action against malaria. With the aim of monitoring progress in tackling these three major pandemics, we agreed to a regular review of our work in this field.   We will also continue to support the Global Polio Eradication Initiative so that the planet can be declared polio-free within the next few years.
  Other issues
  We adopted a separate statement on trade where we urged all the parties to commit to the concerted leadership and action needed to reach a successful conclusion of the Doha Round by the end of 2006.
  We addressed the proliferation implications of Iran’s advanced nuclear program and confirmed our commitment to see those implications resolved. We fully supported the proposals presented to Iran in June 2006 on behalf of China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and the United States with the support of the high representative of the European Union for a long-term comprehensive agreement with Iran based on cooperation and mutual respect. [Since] Iran [has not] shown a willingness to engage in serious discussions of those proposals and failed to take the steps needed to allow negotiations to begin, specifically the suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, as required by the International Atomic Energy Agency and supported in the UN Security Council Presidential Statement, we supported the decision of those countries’ ministers to return the issue of Iran to the UN Security Council. Iran has a serious choice to make and we invited it to make the right decision--to react positively to the concrete proposals presented to it on June 6, 2006.
  We addressed nuclear and other security concerns as well as humanitarian issues regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). We expressed support for UN Security Council Resolution 1695 of July 15, 2006, which condemns the launches by the DPRK of ballistic missiles on July 5, 2006. We urge the DPRK to reestablish its preexisting commitment to a moratorium on missile launching. These missile launches intensify our deep concerns over the DPRK’s nuclear weapons programs and we strongly urge the DPRK to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs.
  We strongly support the six-party talks, and urge the DPRK to promptly return to them without precondition and to cooperate in implementing the Joint Statement of September 2005 in good faith. We also urge the DPRK to respond to other security and humanitarian concerns of the international community, including early resolution of the abduction issue.
  In Lebanon and Gaza the most urgent priority is for a cessation of violence and not to allow extremist elements to plunge the region into chaos and provoke a wider conflict. There must be an end to the suffering of innocent people and priority must be given to political and diplomatic methods toward a settlement, with a central role for the UN.

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