Beijing had key role in shaping collective of developing nations This year's Group of Eight summit saw the birth of a new collective identity - the 'Group of Five' - and China has played a key role in shaping it. Leaders of China, Brazil, India, Mexico and South Africa applied that label to themselves for the first time formally in their joint statement issued on Tuesday night. The G8 leaders also used the new name to describe the five developing nations when the two groups met yesterday, the last day of the summit. The associate director of the Centre for International Governance Innovation, (CIGI) Andrew Cooper, noted that despite different development concerns, the five nations had 'taken on a personality that stresses their commonalities', and were sending out a message that they had become as important as the G8 in international decision-making. The host of next year's G8 summit, Italy, has already invited the G5 leaders to attend, with a 11/2-day meeting that will guarantee substantial discussions between the two blocs. That has proved difficult in the past, with only a half-day meeting this year and mere breakfast meetings previously. But it is too early to tell whether this is a sign of growing confrontation between the developed and the developing nations or a sign of the latter demonstrating their eligibility to join the G8 as equals. 'For the first time these two options are available,' Mr Cooper said. 'The next question for the developing nations is whether they wish to become a member of the apex of international order and be subject to more onerous responsibilities and severe criticisms or to strengthen themselves as a bloc in opposition.' Many factors are being contemplated - the efficiency of the G8 mechanism itself, and whether the G5 nations can advance their interests better as a separate group or as part of a group of 13. Either way, analysts said, the five developing nations - known as the 'outreach five' since first participating in the G8 summit in 2005 - were much more vocal this year. The group advocated positions different from the G8's on a range of issues, and made specific demands and suggestions on how to tackle these problems. Most notable was climate change. The developing five said in their first G8 summit statement that 'it is essential that developed countries take the lead' in reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25 to 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, and between 80 and 95 per cent by 2050. However, the G8 leaders, in their statement, said only that they would work with all countries under the UN climate-change framework towards halving emissions by 2050, bending to the US president's repeated stress that no deals could be reached without China and India on board. A retired Chinese Academy of Social Sciences professor of world economics and politics, Shen Jiru, told China Central Television that while developing and developed nations both accepted they had to tackle problems such as climate change and runaway prices, they differed on 'who should bear the bigger responsibility'. 'China's position is that the developed countries have grown without inhibition in the past 200 years, therefore they bear a historical responsibility,' he said. 'The developed nations should provide technological transfer or financial aid in energy conservation or food production, while the developing nations should pursue scientific and sustainable development on the condition that their own growth won't be hurt.' CIGI senior fellow Gregory Chin said China's philosophy could be seen throughout the G5 statement. From its emphasis on aid and technological co-operation to developing nations, to an emphasis on 'common but differentiated responsibility' in climate change, and calls for reform of international financial institutions to address economic instability - all of China's signature positions had been endorsed. But China had also made new and specific suggestions this time on food security, and making food security a priority in resolving other global problems, Mr Chin said. In his speech to the G5 leaders on Tuesday, President Hu Jintao said 'it is necessary to take into full account the issue of food security in tackling the challenges in energy, climate change and other fields'. Apart from calling for the setting up of a UN-led international co-operation mechanism and a global food-security safeguard system, Mr Hu said all countries should strengthen co-operation in grain reserves, a proven process in China but not recommended by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. 'Mr Hu is also promoting a China model here. China is not the only voice here, but it is a key voice,' Mr Chin said. Renmin University professor of international relations Jin Canrong said the difference in views between developing and developed nations had always existed, but they became more acute this year because of the sharp rise in food and oil prices, and untameable inflation. He disagreed that China played an unnaturally large role in the G5. 'China's voice is naturally bigger because of the size of its economy.'