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[Opinion] Upcoming G8 Summit and St. Petersburg Celebration, Where’s Korea?

[Opinion] Upcoming G8 Summit and St. Petersburg Celebration, Where’s Korea?

Posted May. 27, 2003 21:46,   


The G8 summit is one of the most powerful diplomatic gatherings to happen around the world. Originally, it started as a meeting of the world’s seven economic powers. Recently, Russia joined and it would be fair to say that the G8 summit is the most powerful group meeting in the world. Specifically, in 1975, the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Japan formed the group. Then, they accepted Canada as a member and ever since, it has been called the G7, or Group of 7.

Starting in 1991, Russia attended the meeting as a non-voting member, and obtained full membership in 1997. Now, the G8 summit is inviting China to the meeting next month in France. China will attend as an observer, and it is highly probable that a G9 will be organized, as a group to determine the world’s economy.

Participation in the summit itself definitely symbolizes the power of the participant countries. Proud Russian leaders like Boris Yeltsin had to swallow the embarrassment of being able to attend only the political session. But, the fame of the meeting served his patience. This may also be the case with China. Some accuse it as a meeting of luxury, dishonorably calling it a social gathering or party of words. Each nation, however, wants to join the summit to demonstrate its elevated national power.

This week, leaders of major powers from around the world will get together in Russia. Russia has prepared a large celebration commemorating the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg, and has invited leaders from 50 countries around the world to attend. Russia reportedly poured in 1.5 billion dollars for preparation for the events. Of course, G8 leaders will come and be VIP guests. Over the weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin will host a series of summits with his counterparts from the United States, Japan, China and the E.U. Aleksandr Pushkin once called ‘Sankt Peterburg’ the window to Europe. Now, the name may be appropriately changed to a window to the world.

Korea has not received an invitation. We know we are not a member of the G8, nor a member of the E.U. Still, it is hard to swallow the fact that our country`s name was not put on the list enumerating 50 invitee countries for this world festival. At least for Russians, South Korea is still a country that lies far away. We have joined the OECD, and are the 12th most powerful economy in the world. Nonetheless, it is a possibility that we are not being treated the way we should. Elevation of national status in the world is the sole responsibility of the government. We don`t really see any positive work being done these days, and are not likely to see any in the near future either.