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China Supports DNS, Root Servers on Agenda for Talks

China Supports DNS, Root Servers on Agenda for Talks

A Chinese representative asserted that last year's IGF meeting in Athens missed discussion of key issues

China is seeking to put technical Internet management issues on the agenda of the next Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meeting, a UN-run forum concerning the development of the Internet.

IGF is a forum for countries and other stakeholders to exchange ideas about key Internet issues. China appears poised to raise issues that have put it at loggerheads with the United States, which has been consistently criticized for wielding too much influence over the Internet.

However, there are no specific plans for how the issues raised by China may be addressed, said Markus Kummer, executive coordinator for the secretariat of the IGF in London.

"We are going to discuss critical Internet resources, but we haven't framed the discussion yet," Kummer said.

IGF's next meeting, to be held in Rio de Janeiro in November, will broadly cover four subject areas: access, openness, security and diversity.

A Chinese representative asserted about two weeks ago that last year's IGF meeting in Athens missed discussion of key issues.

"Still, there are some critical issues that were missing at the meeting," the Chinese representative said, according to a [transcript] on the IGF Web site. "For instance, issues like the DNS root servers and IP address."

Root servers manage the Domain Name System, which enables the translation of a Web site name, such as www.idg.com.au, to a numerical Internet Protocol address used to find where the Web page is hosted for viewing in a browser.

Kummer stressed that IGF is not a policy-making body and said there are "widely divergent expectations" about its role. IGF doesn't have binding power to regulate the Internet worldwide, but it can provide an international stage to discuss issues, Kummer said.

"Negotiating a treaty takes a long time, and it is only as good as the weakest link in the chain," Kummer said.

It would appear countries such as China are hoping IGF will be a stage for more controversial issues. China, along with other developing countries, has expressed concern over the influence of the US government as well as the physical location of much of the Internet's core infrastructure in the US, such as root servers.

To accommodate an ever-increasing number of Internet users, China is also seeking to increase its allocation of IP addresses, an essential numerical identifier for a computer or devices to connect to the Internet.

The US has generally opposed management changes or adjustments in the Internet's infrastructure, saying it could undermine its stability and security.

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