This November’s summit of the Group of 20 nations in Seoul will be the first to be hosted by a country from outside the elite circle of the Group of 8. In the past, G-20 summits have been hosted by one of the traditional powers from either Europe or North America. So this is a singular event for South Korea, and it will give President Lee Myung-bak and his government a chance to bask in the spotlight as global governance leaders. Certainly South Korean officials and the wider cognoscenti in the country are treating it with the utmost importance, particularly as a reflection of the G-20’s emerging role as “the premier forum for international economic co-operation,” as the self-congratulatory communiqué from the 2009 Pittsburgh G-20 summit described the body.
Alan S. Alexandroff is Director Online Research Munk School of Global Affairs & Co-Director of the G-20 Research Group, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto.