[Commendation Award] Time to usher in a new era of a better world
"The land of the calm morning” was the name of the ancient Korean nation. In contrast to its peaceful name, the nation has witnessed a turbulent modern history in the past 100 years. The forceful annexation by Japan, tragic division into the two Koreas, severe dictatorship, transition to democracy, and economic crises are some of the examples.
However, even though we faced such hardship and difficulties, we were able to overcome it and make a mind-boggling achievement. The poor country who couldn’t even care for itself became one of the world’s largest industries and emerging economies.
We faced yet another crisis in the late 2000s. This crisis was harsh not only for Korea but also for the world. At first, the ordeal seemed to be too deep to overcome. However, the world got together to tackle the crisis. The Group of Twenty nations (G20) members were called upon to further strengthen international cooperation and carried out emergency and short-term responses. Now the world seems to be getting out of the tunnel of financial crisis, but has yet to be fully restored. The countries are still working together to grapple with the crisis.
At this momentous moment, Korea was assigned the role of the chair for the G20 summit in November 2010. We will play a pivotal role in organizing the conference and coordinating the overall discussion. It‘s time for Korea to earn credit as a G20 chairman for a better world. Until now, in the short term, the world needed to focus on policy coordination to ensure the global economic recovery. However, this time the world needs to prepare a future plan for the long term. We have to pave the way for a better world for our children’s future, as well as for our generation
As a chair nation, Korea will contribute in setting the G20 agenda. There are a multitude of issues that should be discussed and handled such as regulatory reform. On the other hand, some of the agenda are too arguable to be settled. Korea can find a common ground on which all of the member-states can stand on. As one of the emerging economies, Korea will need to focus more on coordinating the views of its members. Moreover, South Korea currently sits as a full-fledged member of the G20 management troika. This means that we can have a bigger chance to help the countries to consider more future-oriented issues and develop tangible plans.
Certainly it is time to discuss future global cooperation. The G20 system will be a new global economic architecture; however, it still does not take into account the needs and interests of the remaining 172 countries. The new architecture should respect different voices within the G20 and the other countries. Of course, coordinating different voices of both sides doesn't come easy to G20 countries. However, if only G20’s interests are reflected in the system, it cannot gain the full support of developing countries. As a result, it would be difficult to bring about stable and sustainable economic growth across the globe.
Against this backdrop, Korea can be an honest broker to bridging the two worlds, because as a country which has experienced poverty within this generation, the Koreans are well-positioned to understand both sides. Firstly, while Korea is a member state of OECD, we still have a poignant memory of poverty and hardship. Korea, therefore, can set issues that can be mediated by Korea between the interests of advanced countries and developing countries within the G20 framework.
Secondly, we have to think about the general interests of those countries which lie outside of the G20 framework because Korea can represent the issues of some developing countries through the G20 framework. Moreover, Korea has suffered economic crisis due to our faults and finally overcame it, so as to know how to tackle economic difficulties. We need to share a lot of experience with the developing world and help them to persuade the advanced countries.
For the world, Korea’s G20 meeting is a chance to have an in-depth discussion on the direction of the post-crisis global economic management. Korea needs to be prepared for the possibility that the G20 agenda will move beyond the global financial crisis management. The ultimate goal has to be to find a better system in which more people are benefitted with as little expense as possible for a better future. Therefore, G20 should discuss the issues that will be relevant in the forthcoming post-crisis era.
The G20 designated Korea to chair the G20 Summit. It reflects that the world has a confidence in Korea’s ability and leadership. Living up to the world’s expectation, we have to do our best. At this historical occasion, Korea’s efforts and vision will go down as the world’s history, ushering in a new era of a better world.