By Na Jeong-ju
President Lee Myung-bak said Monday the two-day G20 Seoul Summit, which ended Friday, will be a historic turning point for Korea in becoming a more responsible member of the global community, calling the forum a big success.
He urged the country to capitalize on the successful hosting to create further momentum in its drive to become an advanced nation.
“The G20 meeting should not be a one-time event,” Lee said during a meeting with senior presidential secretaries at Cheong Wa Dae, according to spokeswoman Kim Hee-jung.
“We must take it as an opportunity to improve ourselves and remove bad practices in society.”
Lee noted that the “winners” of the summit were the Korean people, saying Seoul successfully demonstrated its potential to become a global leader at the international forum.
He also instructed the administration to work closely with France, the next host, to follow up on the agreements reached in Seoul and help the world achieve the goal of more balanced and sustainable economic growth, Kim said. Korea will remain a part of the G20 troika as the host of the previous summit to help organize the next summit in France.
Earlier in the day, the President said in a biweekly radio address that the G20 meeting will be a stepping stone for Korea to become a leading country.
He appreciated the public and bipartisan support for the government, saying many citizens voluntarily left their cars at home to join the campaign to ease rush-hour traffic jams around the summit venue, Coex in southern Seoul. Protests against the G20 were largely peaceful.
“The success of the summit is attributed to your active cooperation and warm support,” he said.
Regarding the allegations that the Seoul summit failed to address thorny issues, such as the currency conflict between the United States and China, Sakong Il, chief organizer of the summit, said Korea did its best as the host.
“Through the Seoul summit, countries exchanged opinions on various issues and tried to find common solutions. They had meaningful discussions. We are satisfied with that,” Sakong told reporters at the presidential office.
The Seoul forum was the first G20 meeting that was held in Asia and in a non-G7 member nation. It was one of the largest international events to have been held here.
Korea put reforming the International Monetary Fund and addressing the needs of underdeveloped nations high on the G20 agenda to pave the way for a global consensus on those issues.
President Lee said the leaders of Malawi and Ethiopia, who were invited to the summit as special guests, expressed their sincere gratitude for Seoul’s efforts to ensure balanced global growth.