By Do-Hee Jeong, BASC Research Assistant
Twenty celebrity singers in South Korea recently released a collaborative G20 campaign song, “Let’s Go,” to mobilize young Korean citizens for the upcoming G20 Seoul Summit as part of a larger campaign to promote the G20 not only in Korea, but internationally as well. The active campaigns, reminiscent of those during the quadrennial World Cup hype in South Korea, emphasize the great weight the November summit holds. So why is this upcoming summit so important?
The November summit’s importance is two-fold. First, it will establish the legitimacy of the G20 as an organization that produces concrete solutions to global economic problems. Second, as the first summit hosted by state that was not a member of the G8, the summit will test the ability of non-G8 members to successfully manage a global forum and make significant contributions.
The Seoul Summit will be an important follow-up from the previous summit in Toronto. It will have to provide a basis for an international framework for strong, sustainable, and balanced growth focusing on macroeconomic policy coordination; reform of international financial institutions, mainly the IMF and World Bank; and reform of financial regulation during this aftermath of the global financial crisis. It is important that the G20 deliver real outcomes not only to avoid a double-dip recession, but also to solidify the legitimacy and effectiveness of the G20 as a premium forum for international economic cooperation.
Korea is also the first non-G8 country to host the G20 Summit, and therefore carries the importance of setting the precedent for other non-G8 members to play central roles in the future. Korea plans to promote the creation of a global financial safety net that will provide insurance mechanisms in case of another liquidity problem created by future global financial crises; development that will take many lessons from Korea’s unprecedented transformation from aid-recipient to donor country; and a business summit that will provide an official avenue for the private sector’s voice on global matters. Seoul’s success in promoting its agenda and hosting the two-day summit will legitimize and open more doors for the involvement of non-original G8 members in the G20.
Although the campaign song—along with the numerous promotional videos created by Korean celebrities and popular street events that inform the public about the G20—may be just mere displays of Korean pop culture on the surface, they nevertheless demonstrate the great significance of the upcoming Seoul G20 Summit.
(Source: The information is based on Secretary General of the Presidential Committee for the G20 Summit Changyong Rhee’s speech during the 2010 MacArthur Asia Security Initiative Annual Meeting in Seoul)