Go to contents

[Opinion] G8

Posted June. 10, 2004 21:28,   


The U.S. president and British premier were seen cordially walking in a garden, and the Russian president and Japanese premier were seen having a friendly talk, and even making friendly gestures to each other. The eight summit members of the G8 talks who were talking each other took a stroll on the beach and even unfastened their ties as if they felt something short in individual activities. It is this kind of free and liberal behavior that the participants have shown in the G8 summit talks. Who are they? They are the men who have the most powerful authority in the world. Their smiles are filled with power and confidence.

The G8 summit is, to put it simply, a meeting that touches the world. In this round, major pending problems of the world are being dealt with evenly. The result of the discussion between the summit participants will become the basic foundation for solving problems. Though there are people who underestimate the G8 summit talk as the “social club of the rich,” the reality is that weak countries cannot ignore the tendency of international societies being led by the powerful countries. The Korean peninsula cannot free itself from the concerns of G8. The eight summit members have expressed anxieties about the missiles and nuclear development of North Korea with a clear voice, urging a peaceful settlement.

The G8 began with six advanced countries meeting back in 1975, including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan. When Canada joined in 1976, it became the G7; it expanded to G8 when Russia became an official member country of the meeting in 1997. At the G8 talks held last year, the possibility of it becoming the G9 has opened because China participated for the first time as a guest country. From our point of view, which has been modeled on Japan in many respects, we cannot but enviously look up to Japan who became one of the world’s most powerful countries thirty years before. Under the condition that the problem of Korean peninsula has been adopted almost every year as one of the G8 agendas, Japan has taken the role of representing all of Asia.

It will be difficult for Korea to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Unites States, Japan, and Germany in the near future. But, it seems that Canada can be easily caught up with. Canada’s population is much smaller than ours, and its gross national product is not more than twice ours. As the world’s twelfth to thirteenth largest economy, “passing Canada” is not a dream-like task. It is more practicable goal than becoming the “central country of northeast Asia” which needs to pass China and Japan. Seeing the summit meeting of the powerful countries, I am thinking that joining the G8 should not be the long-term goal of our country. But isn’t it just pleasant to imagine?

Editorialist Bang Hyung-nam, hnbhang@donga.com