US, France clash over G8 expansion
The United States and France clashed Monday over plans to accommodate India, China and other large developing countries into the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized countries, according to Japanese media reports quoting officials from both sides.
In an interview given to Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper prior to his departure for Japan, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said G-8 annual summits should also include China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa.
These five countries already attend G-8 summits, but they hold separate meetings as part of the outreach groups and are known as the G-5.
Sarkozy said their inclusion into regular G-8 meetings would help promote dialogue with emerging nations.
"The G-8 needs to adapt to the 21st century," he said. "It needs to expand to demonstrate its fairness in decision making," Sarkozy added.
But the proposal was promptly rejected by the United States.
"We are not for enlargement," Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House's National Security Council, told Kyodo News Monday.
Japan has already made it clear that the current G-8 format should remain unchanged.
The G-8 countries are Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Canada, Japan and the United States.
This year's summit opened Monday in the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.