TORONTO, June 26 (Xinhua) -- Leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies on Saturday afternoon started their fourth summit since 2008 in Canada's largest city Toronto, seeking ways to consolidate the world's fragile recovery from deep recession and address the root causes of the global economic crisis.
This is the first G20 summit in its new capacity as a premier forum for international economic cooperation and policy coordination, as determined at the previous summit in Pittsburgh, the United States last September.
At an official welcome and reception ceremony held in Royal York Hotel of Toronto, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen greeted other G20 leaders and spouses one by one, shaking hands and posing for pictures on red carpet.
A plenary session is scheduled for Sunday morning in the Metro Toronto Convention Center, the main venue of the summit.
Under the theme of "Recovery and New Beginnings," the Toronto summit is expected to focus on recovery from the global economic and financial crisis and the implementation of commitments from the previous G20 summits -- the first in Washington in November 2008 and second in London in April 2009.
Major topics to be discussed during the summit include securing recovery and restoring balance to public finances, reforming the global financial system, strengthening international financial institutions, and liberalizing trade and investment.
Observers say that while the G20 leaders share the common objective of laying the foundations for sustainable and balanced growth for the future, they also differ on certain approaches and practices, particularly on some thorny issues like economic stimulus exit strategy and taxation of banks.
This year's G20 summit took place just hours after the conclusion of the annual Group of Eight (G8) summit in Huntsville, Canada's Muskoka region, reflecting increased interaction and enhanced cooperation between the two previously separate international forums.
However, the G8 leaders on Saturday clearly rejected the idea of disbanding their over-three-decade-old group and letting the G20 take over its role in international affairs.
At a closing press conference for the G8 summit, Harper, whose country holds the rotating G8 presidency this year, said that although the G20 has done a magnificent job in dealing with the financial crisis, it also has limits, and that the G8 will remain "equally vital" as the G20 and other key international bodies and forums.
The G20 members, namely Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United States and the European Union, account for 90 percent of global output, 80 percent of world trade and two-thirds of the world's population.