1st LD Writethru: Munich Security Conference kicks off discussing "Westlessness"

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MUNICH, Germany, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- The 56th Munich Security Conference (MSC) opened in the southern German city of Munich on Friday afternoon with a theme coined as "Westlessness."

"Westlessness" refers to the loss of the common standing of what it means to be part of the West, according to a security report published ahead of the conference.

More than 500 high-level international decision-makers, including over 35 heads of state or government as well as some 100 foreign and defense ministers gathered at the conference to discuss current crises and future security challenges.

In his opening remarks, Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the MSC, expressed his disappointment at the lack of collective action to address the most violent crises and most dangerous threats to international peace and security.

"It's not enough for the most powerful people in the world to shrug your shoulders and say that this is the way things are," Ischinger said, adding that "the present state of global insecurity is absolutely unacceptable."

Echoing Ischinger's remarks, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in his opening speech that "the idea of international community is not outmoded."

The withdrawal to concentrate on a narrowly-defined national interest prevents the nations from taking joint action and coming up with convincing answers to the issues and problems that no one can solve alone, Steinmeier said.

The conference, which runs until Sunday, will include conversations on hotspots like Libya and the Middle East, issues in global trade, energy, and health, as well as new security challenges brought by technologies and climate change. Enditem

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