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G8 has no expansion plans

The United States has said this in response to reports that China could join the elite club.

india Updated: May 23, 2006 11:15 IST

The powerful Group of Eight nations is not planning any immediate expansion, the United States has said in response to reports that China could join the elite club.

"The G8 is not considering expansion," the State Department said in a statement on Monday in response to a media query.

"We have an active engagement with China bilaterally and in appropriate multilateral fora and we are working to expand that productive cooperation," the department said, acknowledging that various individuals and groups had suggested expanding the G8 to include China.

Russia is now heading the G8 for the first time. The group also comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

With a population of more than a billion and being the world's fourth largest economy, China may seem an obvious G8 candidate but Beijing has not shown any interest in membership.

Some believe China's human rights record could be a hurdle to any early membership although Russia is not a vibrant democracy like the other seven group members.