Backgrounder: Munich Security Conference

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-14 17:12:30|Editor: huaxia

FRANKFURT, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- The 56th Munich Security Conference (MSC) is scheduled to open in the southern German city of Munich on Friday and run through Sunday.

Known as the "Davos" in global security and political issues, this year's MSC will attract more than 500 high-level international decision-makers, including over 35 heads of state or government and some 100 foreign and defense ministers.

Since its foundation in the fall of 1963 by German publisher Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist-Schmenzin, the conference has been held in Munich annually except for in the years of 1991 and 1997.

For the first decades, the conference was relatively small. Initially, German participants met here with their counterparts from the United States and other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member states. It was then often dubbed as a "transatlantic family meeting."

After the end of the Cold War, founders of the conference started to invite participants from non-Western countries. In 1995, the event saw representatives from Russia for the first time. In 1999, representatives from Central and Eastern European countries as well as China attended the forum for the first time.

Over the years, in keeping with a growing understanding of security, participants to the event have grown notably and become more diverse. Last year, the MSC saw a record attendance of over 600 participants. A panel on the topic of "Climate Change and Security" was included in the main program for the first time.

The theme this year is "Westlessness," which refers to the loss of the common standing of what it means to be part of the West, according to a security report published ahead of the meeting.

Decision-makers and experts from across the world are expected to discuss hotspots from Libya to the Persian Gulf and further to East Asia, trade disputes between the European Union and the United States, and the discord between Germany and the United States over the Russia-Germany gas pipeline project "Nord Stream 2."

French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will attend the MSC for the first time.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend the conference and co-chair the fifth round of China-Germany strategic dialogue on diplomacy and security with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

Wang will also talk about China's concerted efforts and progress in fighting the novel coronavirus and about advancing international cooperation against the virus.