Special report: Yearender 2007
BEIJING, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- The following are the top 10 world news events in the year 2007 as selected by Xinhua (in chronological order).
1. U.S. troops suffer heavy losses in Iraq
U.S. President George W. Bush embraced a major tactical shift in the war in Iraq on Jan. 10, when he declared that more American troops would be deployed to Iraq.
However, the additional 30,000 U.S. forces in Iraq did not bring peace to the country, which is still plagued by rampant violence and bloodshed.
The year 2007 has been the deadliest year for the U.S. troops in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, with around 900 soldiers died so far.
Iraq also reported a civilian death toll of at least 17,000 in various violent activities.
2. U.S.-Russian relations strain
Relations between the United States and Russia have come under strain since late January when Washington announced plan to restart talks about deploying a radar station in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland.
Russia believes the U.S. missile defense plan in Eastern Europe poses a threat to its national security.
Russian President Vladimir Putin strongly criticized the U.S. foreign polices at the Munich Conference on Security Policy in February, saying that Washington is abusing its military powers worldwide and the eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) poses a threat to Russia's security.
In August, Russia renewed its long-distance strategic bomber patrols after a 15-year suspension.
In December, Russia's navy fleet started to resume military presence in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean to increase the security of Russian navigation.
On Dec.12, Russia officially suspended its participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty.
3. Korean Peninsula witnesses an easing of tensions
On July 14, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) announced the shutdown of its Yongbyon nuclear facilities, a significant progress in the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
On Nov. 29, returning from a three-day trip to the DPRK, a delegation of diplomats and atomic energy experts from China, South Korea, Japan, the United States and Russia reported that the DPRK's nuclear disablement process was going smoothly. This also helps relations between South Korea and the DPRK continue to thaw in 2007.
DPRK leader Kim Jong-II and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun held talks in Pyongyang on Oct. 3-4. The two leaders signed the Declaration for Development of North-South Relations and Peace and Prosperity, creating more favorable conditions for easing tensions in the region.
4. Darfur issue makes good headway
On July 31, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution authorizing the deployment of a 26,000-strong hybrid force of the United Nations and African Union (AU) to the western Sudanese region of Darfur.
Peace talks between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebels were resumed on Oct. 27 in Libya, marking a new starting point for the international community to promote the peace process in the conflict-ridden region.
China has played a constructive role on solving the Darfur issue. Vanguards of the Chinese peacekeepers engineering units arrived in South Darfur State capital Niyala on Nov. 24, as the first batch of the UN peacekeepers to have arrived in the Darfur region.
¡¡¡¡5. U.S. subprime mortgage crisis triggers financial market turmoil
On Aug. 9, the U.S. Federal Reserve (the Fed) pumped 24 billion U.S. dollars into the financial market to ease tightening credit stemming from the troubles in the high-risk subprime mortgage market, which offers loans to people with lower credit and income.
Since then, the Fed, the central banks in Europe and Japan have made large injections of liquidity to help beat back the widening credit crisis.
The crisis, whose first sign emerged in April 2007, has caused billions of dollars losses for some banks and investment institutions in the West. It has also led to stock market turmoil in the U.S. and global financial market.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) readjusted the prediction of U.S. economic growth in 2007 to 1.9 percent, lower than the 2.9percent in 2006.
6. Lisbon Treaty solves EU constitutional crisis
The Lisbon Treaty, which replaces the failed European Union (EU) Constitutions, was approved on Oct. 19 at the informal EU summit in Lisbon, capital city of Portugal, allowing the EU to putan end to six years of constitutional wrangling.
To help make the EU more effective on the regional and global stages, the treaty provides for far-reaching changes in the EU's institutions and decision making mechanisms.
The new treaty, signed by heads of state and government of EU member states on Dec. 13 in Lisbon, will enter into force in January 2009 after being ratified by each EU member.
7. Climate change catches more world attention
UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted in the last part of its fourth assessment report released on Nov. 17 that global warming is an unquestioned fact. The issue of climate change has on the top agenda in many international conferences in 2007.
The UN Conference on Climate Change, held in Indonesia's resort island of Bali on Dec. 3-15, approved the "Bali Roadmap," which agreed on a clear negotiating agenda and a timetable for the reduction of greenhouse gas emission after 2012 when the current phase of the Kyoto Protocol expires.
Developing countries, including China, agreed that the negotiation on climate change should be carried out within the UN framework under the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities."
8. ASEAN Charter signed
Leaders of the 10 member states of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed the ASEAN Charter on Nov. 20 at its 13th summit in Singapore.
The charter, for the first time established ASEAN's legal and institutional framework. It is a historic milestone in the process of ASEAN integration as it is the first legally binding document for all ASEAN members since the group was founded 40 years ago.
The charter will take effect 30 days after the last member state submits its ratification documents.
9. World sees sustained high oil price
The world witnessed sustained oil price hike until Nov. 21, when the light crude for January delivery surged to its all-time high of 99.29 U.S. dollars a barrel on New York Mercantile Exchange.
The closing price of the crude oil futures ever fell to 87.49 dollars a barrel on Dec. 5. But since then, it remained at high prices and fluctuated around 90 dollars per barrel.
The main forces behind the oil price hike are the strong demand and relatively short supply of the crude, speculation, the depreciation of U.S. dollar, and unstable geopolitical situation of some oil producers.
10. Israeli-Palestine peace process resumed
U.S.-hosted International Conference on Middle East Peace was held on Nov. 27 in Annapolis, Maryland.
Shortly before the conference, Israeli and Palestinian leaders agreed to what was called a joint understanding to launch good faith negotiations from Nov. 28 to end a conflict that has endured for six decades.
The two sides committed themselves to negotiating a peace treaty by the end of 2008.
At the conference, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi explained China's stance on the Middle East issues.
The conference, with broad involvement of the international community, will play a positive role in the Israeli-Palestine peace process. However, it is widely believed that the peace process is still fraught with grave difficulties.