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China can use G8 talks to reach out to others
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However, the "host nation brand" on the dialogue has always been quite prominent. For instance, the 2003 meeting in Evian, France, reflected the country's multi-polar thinking, the 2004 talks in the US were turned into an anti-terrorism gathering and Germany made climate change a key topic when it hosted the 2007 dialogue.

The "Japanese characteristic" of this year's meeting at Lake Toya is even more striking with the host's two main intents: paving the way for its attempt to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council and seizing the steering wheel of establishing world environment order. Japan has already held a related meeting of G8 and some developing nations as a warm-up session for the upcoming G8 Summit and its dialogue with developing countries.

China has been playing a unique and important role since its debut at the 2003 dialogue in Evian, France, as the heated debate over whether G8 should become G9 by dragging China into its fold continued. This reflects the reality of China's growing international clout and G8's increasing need for China's help. And for China the dialogue has become an important platform for making its views on international affairs widely known, performing its obligations to the international community and confirming its global presence.

It was on this platform President Hu Jintao first introduced China's "new outlook on energy" at the 2006 dialogue in St Petersburg, Russia; and he fully explained China's initiatives, policies and practice concerning global climate change and energy conservation in Heiligendamm, Germany.

This time around President Hu is expected to present at the dialogue meeting China's philosophy, initiatives, policies and practice on world macro-economic policies, international financial stability, global warming and energy conservation, security of energy resources, food security, international cooperation in disaster reduction and relief work and Africa's development.

All this reflects not only China's original intention in promoting the establishment of a harmonious world community but a proactive and concrete action in advancing the process as well.

Meanwhile, China will gear up bilateral talks with developed countries at the upcoming dialogue. President Hu has already made an appointment with US president George W Bush for a meeting on the side of the dialogue to exchange views on international issues as well as bilateral ties.

More important is that the platform has provided an opportunity for China to increase communications, exchange, coordination and cooperation with countries other than the seven Western powers.

So far China has established not only regular ministerial meetings but also held a summit and the first foreign ministers' talks with African nations. Chinese, Russian and Indian foreign ministers have held three meetings. The three countries and Brazil are scheduled to have a foreign ministers' meeting later this year. And China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico exchanged notes before the dialogue with G8 in Germany last year.

It would not only help China strengthen its ties with other developing countries but also enhance the efficiency of its dialogue with G8 and ultimately enable the mechanism that is the G8-developing nations dialogue to make greater contributions to resolving global issues and improving world stability. China can do so by starting or continuing the above-mentioned talks, communications and coordination efforts and works on the establishment of a "2+3+4+5" system, which stands for dialogue between China and Africa, between China, Russia and India, between China, Russia, India and Brazil, and between China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico.

This again reflects China's original intention in promoting the establishment of a harmonious world community and its proactive and concrete move to advance the process.

The author is a researcher and director of the Center for Strategic Studies, China Institute of Contemporary International Relations

(China Daily July 4, 2008)

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