CHINA / National

China 'not seeking to join G8'
By Le Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-07-13 06:24

China is satisfied with current consultation and co-operation with the Group of Eight (G8) members, a senior Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday, hinting that the nation would not seek to join the group.

Speaking at a news briefing in Beijing, Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai also ruled out a summit between President Hu Jintao and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on the sidelines of the upcoming G8 Summit in St Petersburg.

Both China and the G8 "feel comfortable about the current co-operative relationship and that's good," Cui said when asked about whether the country plans to join the group.

"China is open in co-operating with regional or international organizations," he said, "but the form of partnership should not be confined to a unified mode."

What is now known as the G8 was formed in 1975 as the Group of Major Industrialized Democracies, when it consisted of the United States, Japan, Britain, France and Germany, then the world's five biggest economic powers. Italy was added in 1976, Canada in 1977 and Russia in 1998.

This year's annual summit is scheduled to be held this weekend and is the first time that Russia is holding the rotating presidency.

Hu will attend an outreach session at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin where the two leaders will discuss energy security, prevention and control of epidemic diseases, education, African development and other topics.

"China is a developing country. We are ready to play as positive a role as possible as we can in international affairs," Cui said.

He added China attaches great importance to the G8's role in international affairs and is ready to develop partnership with the G8 countries in various fields. "China adopts an active attitude to the prospects of future consultations and co-operation between the two sides."

He expressed hope that the summit could "balance the concerns of various parties, particularly voices from developing countries."

According to Cui, Hu will hold a series of bilateral meeting with the leaders of G8 countries during the summit.

But he said: "Up to now, a China-Japan meeting is not included in the arrangement."

"There exist severe difficulties in China-Japan relations. I think we all know clearly what the obstacles and crux of the difficulties are," Cui said.

Sino-Japanese relations have been soured by Koizumi's repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, where Japan's war dead, including 14 class-A convicted war criminals in World War II, are honoured.

The leaders of the two countries have not visited each other's nations following Koizumi's homage at the war shrine, a symbol of Japan's past militarism, soon after he took office in 2001.

Cui said Hu would possibly meet US President George W. Bush.

The two leaders "have expressed hope in their phone talks to meet each other" in St Petersburg, Cui said, adding that the schedule is still being finalized.

Hu will also hold a trilateral meeting with leaders from Russia and India as well as a group meeting with leaders from India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and the Republic of Congo.


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