09回顧・国際 オバマ政権登場で動いた世界

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 30, 2009)
2009 provided plenty of grist for media mill
09回顧・国際 オバマ政権登場で動いた世界(12月30日付・読売社説)

It has been a busy year. From a pandemic of a new type of influenza that hit the world this year to the struggles of the global economy to get out of recession to the prevention of nuclear proliferation and global environmental problems--the international community had to tackle a wide variety of issues.

On the list of the top 10 international news stories chosen by readers of The Yomiuri Shimbun, Barack Obama's inauguration as U.S. president and his winning of the Nobel Peace Prize ranked second and fifth respectively. This shows how popular Obama is, even in Japan.

In April, Obama announced his target of a nuclear free world during a speech in Prague--a story that ranked 13th on the list. Although he said it would be difficult to realize that goal during his lifetime, Obama chaired a summit-level meeting of the U.N. Security Council in September and led the council to approve a historic resolution aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons--a story that ranked 15th on the list.

However, Obama said during a speech at the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in December; "The instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace," positioning the U.S. war in Afghanistan and other conflicts as "just wars."
He made the remark as the leader of the world's preeminent superpower, based on the cold, hard realities of the world.


N. Korea still source of concern

In April, North Korea test-fired a long-range ballistic missile--the news story raking sixth on the list. The U.N. Security Council immediately adopted a presidential statement condemning the launch, but Pyongyang held an underground nuclear test in May (story No. 14 on the list).

As it was the second nuclear test North Korea has conducted since 2006, it was reasonable that the Security Council unanimously approved a resolution widening sanctions against the reclusive state.

Though the United States and China are continuing negotiations with North Korea, the six-way talks aimed at stopping Pyongyang's nuclear development program have remained suspended and will see the old year out without any likelihood of resumption.

The news story ranked eighth was the riots by Muslim Uygurs that erupted in Urumqi, the capital of China's Xingjian Uygur Autonomous Region, in which 197 people died. The incident highlighted the antagonism between China's majority Han people and Uygurs, showing that ethnic minority issues could prove to be the Achilles' heel of China, whose economy continues to grow rapidly.

In October, China celebrated the 60th anniversary of People's Republic of China, staging the military parade for the first time in 10 years, a story readers ranked 18th. It symbolized the efforts by the Chinese Communist Party and the government to boost national prestige. However, the administration of Chinese President Hu Jintao, who has just three more years or so in office, is facing a mountain of problems such as the growing gap between the rich and the poor, and spreading corruption.


Deadly blaze

The news story ranked seventh on the list is the shooting range fire in Busan, South Korea, in November that killed 15, including 10 Japanese tourists.

Also in South Korea, former President Roh Moo-hyun killed himself in May and Kim Dae Jung, former president and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, passed away in August, both of which were sad news for South Koreans.

From the first outbreak in Mexico in April, a new type of flu spread around the world this year. According to the World Health Organization, the global death toll from the disease, including deaths in Japan, topped 10,000. This was the No. 1 story on the The Yomiuri Shimbun's list of the top 10 international news stories.

The new flu pandemic highlighted various concerns about the way governments around the world cooperate to fight the global spread of infectious diseases. Developing countries suffered shortages of vaccines against the type A H1N1 flu virus.

The financial crisis entered its second year in the wake of momentous events in the first half of the year including the bankruptcies of major U.S. auto manufacturers General Motors and Chrysler--the story ranked fourth on the list of international news stories.


Economy bottoms out

Financial summit meetings of the Group of 20, at which leaders of the 19 nations and the European Union discussed what measures they should take to combat the economic crisis and fix the global economy, were held in London in April and Pittsburgh in September. With the nations cooperatively carrying out fiscal measures and monetary easing policies, it is believed that the worst of the global economic crisis is over.

The G-20 released a leaders' statement in which they proclaimed the G-20 to be the premier forum for international economic cooperation, a development that appears to weaken the influence of the Group of Eight summit of industrialized nations.

Concerning international cooperation to combat global warming, the Conference of Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen (COP15) failed to set concrete reduction goals for greenhouse gasses. The participating nations were able to avert a complete breakdown in negotiations and somehow maintained a positive attitude toward resolving the issue. However, various problems remain unsolved.

In September, a magnitude-8 earthquake hit the island nation of Samoa in the South Pacific, followed by a magnitude 7.6 quake that struck off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. In all, more than 1,000 people were killed or went missing, a story that was ranked ninth by Yomiuri Shimbun readers.


Lightning fast

The 10th ranked story was considerably more cheerful--Usain Bolt of Jamaica won three world athletic titles at the World Championships in Athletics in August, breaking world records in the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints and winning a third gold in the 400-meter relay.

In less happy news, golf superstar Tiger Woods, 33, stunned the world with his involvement in extramarital affairs with several women. The scandal led him to announce in December that he would take an indefinite break from professional golf.

The sudden death in June of singer Michael Jackson startled his fans around the globe--a story ranked third on the list by readers. Jackson was only 50 years old. Police continue to investigate accusations of criminal wrongdoing against the celebrity's personal physician.

Bombing attacks by terrorists are an almost daily event in Iraq and Afghanistan. In December, Obama announced that the United States would dispatch an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in the first half of next year and that it would start withdrawing troops from the country beginning July 2011. The war against terrorism will continue into next year and beyond.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 30, 2009)
(2009年12月30日01時17分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2009-12-30 08:29 | 英字新聞

<< 新成長戦略 目標実現の具体策が... 首相インド訪問 新たな大国との... >>