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Yearender: Xinhua top 10 world news events in 2013

English.news.cn   2013-12-30 20:11:19            

BEIJING, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- The following are the top 10 world news events in the year 2013 selected by Xinhua:

1. New prospects opened in China's diplomacy

In March, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Russia on the first stop of his maiden overseas tour as the country's top leader, lifting China's comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination with Russia to a new level.

In June, Xi and his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, met at the Annenberg estate in the U.S. state of California. The two presidents reached important consensus on forging a new type of major-country relationship that features mutual respect and win-win cooperation.

Over the year, the new generation of Chinese leaders paid visits to countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and North America, proposing to build a Silk Road economic belt and a 21st-century maritime Silk Road, as well as to upgrade the China-ASEAN free trade zone.

They envisaged a blueprint of comprehensive cooperation between China and its neighbors, injected fresh impetus to the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and other developing nations, and opened up new prospects in the country's diplomacy.

2. Abe's right-wing politics

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent offerings to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine during spring and autumn festivals this year. He also made an offering on the anniversary of Japan's World War II defeat on Aug. 15.

On Dec. 26, Abe visited the controversial shrine despite strong opposition from neighboring countries. The visit triggered strong protests and condemnation from the international community, including China and South Korea, as the visit deeply hurt the feelings of those victimized by Japan's war crimes and flagrantly challenged historical justice and the conscience of humankind.

During the past 12 months, Japan, for the first time in 11 years, raised its military budget. It also approved a defense policy package spearheaded by Abe to expand Japan's military might.

The Japanese leader's actions have given Japan's neighbors and the international community every reason to be highly vigilant and deeply concerned over the road Japan will take in the future.

3. U.S. condemned for NSA surveillance scandal

On June 6, the Guardian and the Washington Post revealed a U.S. government's mass domestic and global spying program, code-named PRISM.

Former security contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA) Edward Snowden later identified himself as the whistleblower.

The news grabbed headlines worldwide, and was followed by reports of U.S. spying on its allies.

The NSA spying scandal triggered strong opposition and condemnation around the world and eroded the credibility of the United States.

On Dec. 18, a resolution was approved at the UN General Assembly to protect the right to privacy and to oppose unlawful surveillance.

4. Dramatic breakthrough in Syrian chemical weapons crisis

Chemical weapons were reportedly used by Syrian government troops in the suburb of Damascus, capital of Syria on Aug. 21. Though the Syrian government had denied the reports repeatedly, the United States and other western countries used it as an excuse to push for a military intervention in Syria.

On Sept. 9, Russia proposed that Syria should place its chemical weapons under international control and dismantle them quickly to "stave off" a possible U.S. military strike. The Syrian government accepted the proposal the next day.

The UN Security Council passed a landmark resolution on Sept. 27, condemning any use of chemical weapons in Syria, and asking Syria to work together with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations to destroy its chemical arsenal.

On Oct. 31, the OPCW said Syria has destroyed all previously declared chemical weapons production and mixing equipment.

5. Kenya attack highlights arduous task of anti-terrorism in Africa

On Sept. 21, militants of al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida linked Somali Islamist group, stormed Nairobi's upscale Westgate shopping mall, leaving 67 dead and hundreds injured. The terrorist attack aroused concerns over the security in Kenya and the whole African continent.

The fight against terrorism in Africa is arduous and extremely urgent. Western, northern and eastern Africa, where security guarantee and anti-terrorism emergency mechanisms are relatively fragile, have seen rampant anti-government insurgencies with attacks more similar to those organized by al-Qaida.

6. Super typhoon Haiyan hits Philippines

On Nov. 8, super typhoon Haiyan first lashed Eastern Samar province, the Philippines, and then swept from east to west the country's central region, with a maximum sustained wind of 314 km per hour.

At least 6,109 people died, 1,779 went missing and 27,000 were injured in the disaster, which also destroyed infrastructure massively. The international community, including China, has aided the Philippines in rescue relief and reconstruction.

7. Iran, world powers reach first-step nuclear deal

On Nov. 24, Iran and the P5+1 group -- the five UN Security Council permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany -- reached a first-step agreement on Iran's nuclear program following intensive negotiations in Geneva.

According to the agreement, Iran has been committed to halting enrichment above 5 percent and neutralizing its stockpile of near-20 percent uranium by means of dilution or converting.

Furthermore, Iran has promised not to install more centrifuges, halt work at its plutonium reactor at Arak, and allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency daily access to its enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordow.

In exchange, Iran received relief valued at some 7 billion U.S. dollars including suspending certain sanctions on gold and precious metals, Iran's auto sector and petrochemical exports.

The landmark deal was the outcome of a compromise reached by Iran and the United States, which adopted pragmatic attitudes. It was reached also thanks to the efforts made by the international community, which marks an important first step toward solving the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic means.

8. Doha Round trade talks make historic breakthrough

The 159-member World Trade Organization (WTO) reached a first-ever trade package in its multilateral trade negotiations on Dec. 7 at its ninth ministerial meeting on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

The Bali Package marked a historic progress for the Doha Round trade talks, which were aimed at helping poor nations prosper through free global trade and had been long-stalled over wide disparity in opinions between developed and developing economies.

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo predicted that the package would boost the world economy by 1 trillion U.S. dollars a year.

However, the decisions made in Bali are just the beginning toward the completion of the Doha Round. The remaining Doha Development Agenda issues and the reform of the WTO itself are still a demanding task for the WTO members.

9. Nelson Mandela passes away

Former South African President and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela passed away on Dec. 5 at the age of 95, after his long battle with lung infection.

The legendary icon had led South Africa's decades-long struggle against apartheid in the country and spent 27 years in prison for his political activities.

After his release in 1990, Mandela dedicated himself to forging a peaceful end to white rule by negotiating with his captors.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for his endeavors for the peaceful end of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundation for a new democratic South Africa.

Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa's first black president in 1994 and left office in 1999.

He had also contributed to the establishment and development of China-South Africa relations.

10. DPRK leader's uncle Jang Song Thaek executed

The once-powerful senior official of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Jang Song Thaek, was executed on Dec. 12 after the Special Military Tribunal found him guilty of treason.

Jang, uncle-in-law of DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, was removed from all posts on Dec. 8 for allegedly committing "anti-party and counter-revolutionary" crimes.

The 67-year-old senior general admitted at the trial that he had premeditated a coup against Kim.

Jang was the vice chairman of the National Defense Commission and secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea administration department.

Editor: chengyang
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