In November 2010, there will be a G20 summit in Seoul, Korea. In other words, all the important representatives from twenty countries will gather in Seoul to discuss hot topics like the world economic crisis. This is what we may know about G20, an ostensible knowledge. However, we, as college students, are responsible for ourselves and we are also responsible for our country’s status.
Therefore, we need to know more about the G20...about what the G20 leaders really discuss and about what the hidden problems are at the G20. Read further in this article to learn more about the significance of the G20.
What is the G20?
Before we talk about the G20, we need to know what G7 stands for! G7 stands for ‘The Group of Seven’ and it was a summit where representatives debated world issues. However, the countries that participated in the G7 summit were developed countries; United States, Japan, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Canada. After 1997, they became G8 because Russia joined.
However, it was difficult to make reasonable decisions for the entire world because not every world issue happened in developed countries. Needless to say, issues were pertinent to both the developed and undeveloped countries. This is why it was decided to make another summit called the G20. World organizations such as the United Nations (UN), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB) and some other organizations joined the G20 as well. With all the new nations and organizations, the G20’s goal is to find a better way for the world.
The Meaning of G20 in Korea
The criteria to choose countries for the G20 summit were based on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and economic status especially relating to international trade. The fact that Republic of Korea could join as the member of the G20 means we get the chance to host the summit, and it is very meaningful in several ways. In 1907 Yi Jun, the Korean Ambassador, could not be the part of the Second International Peace Conference.
Yi Jun was one of the secret emissaries in King Go-jong’s time. Regarding the past, we can be proud of our country because it has become a powerful nation in the last one hundred years. More importantly, the G20 summit in November 2010 falls during the year that marks the 100th anniversary of the forced annexation of Korea by Imperial Japan. In the past, we suffered the pain of watching our destiny controlled by the hands of world powers because we were too weak, just like during the Cold War.
However, the dark time had gone now. Korea has now become one of leading countries in the international community, putting other big countries behind. We now can have control of our own affairs and join the one of the world’s crucial groups...The G20 Summit!
The G20 in Washington D.C., “Diagnosis the Crisis Overseas”
The very first G20 summit was held in Washington D.C. on November 15th and 16th, 2008. The main subject of this debate was to find a way to overcome the world financial crisis. The following list are issues discussed in Washington D.C.:
- Identification of five shared principles for financial market reform
- Reinforcement of transparency and a sense of responsibility
- Improvement of financial supervision and regulations
- Enhancement of the reliability of financial markets
- Reinforcement of international cooperation
- Reform of international financial organizations
- Announcement of countries’ cooperation in macro-prudential policies
- Commitment to a standstill on protectionism
- Reform of financial regulations and international financial organizations
The value of the G20 in Washington D.C. was that people could find a more harmonious and balanced solution for certain world issues compared to prior summits, where the prior focus was mainly on problems facing the developed countries.
The G20 in Korea. What Will They Discuss?
There were four more G20 conferences before the 5th summit, however, what we are interested most in is the G20 being held in Korea. When we look at the agenda that will be discussed at the summit, there are two different types. The first issues on the agenda have been discussed from Washington D.C. to Toronto*. The subjects are about overcoming the global economical crisis. The second issues are new topics that were suggested from a Korean perspective and focuses on discussing development issues and global financial safety nets**.
The First Issues
- Ensuring Ongoing Global Economic Recovery
- Framework for Strong, Sustainable, and Balanced Growth
- Strengthening the International Financial Regulatory System
- Modernizing the International Financial Institutions
The Second Issues
- Global Financial Safety Nets
- Development Issues
- Seoul G20 Business Summit
The Korean government believes that the G20 conference will lead Korea into the future through the successful discussion of these new topics to the agenda.
People Against the G20
Even though the G20 seems to bring positive influences to the host country, there are many people who oppose the G20. There are three main points to their opposition. First, they believe that the G20 summit is suspicious because the talks are discussed in private. Everything we know about the G20 is what people have told us. People believe that the contents should be fully opened to public because the G20 is an important conference that discusses the issues of various world problems.
In addition, the G20 opponents insist that the members of the G20 scarcely talk about the environment. Most of the agendas were related to economic difficulties. The Financial Crisis is an important topic indeed, but what about the alteration of the global weather patterns? What they are saying is that extinction of numerous animals and the sea-level rising are critical issues as well. Lastly, opponents believe that solutions that had been decided from the G20 does not really alleviate the problems.
These allegations can either be true or false. However, since there are people looking at the G20 in negative way, the G20 workers should accept and acknowledge those points and try to change the G20 to satisfy the public as much as they can. Without this effort, some disastrous protests like the one that occurred in Canada may happen again.
The G20 in Canada, Traces of Brutality and Violence
While representatives from various countries were discussing world issues at the summit, there were protests in the city. Over 20,000 police officers were standing by at the G20 to check every pedestrian. According to the law enacted on June 2010, police can stop anyone from intruding on the conference or check one’s identity. If there is a person who does not follow their rules, police have a right to use physical violence.
Despite all the criticisms of Canada’s human rights activists, Canadians have very few choices. About 2,000 people from all over Canada were gathered in Toronto to protest about the conferences. Even though they were facing armed polices, people didn’t step back because they had things to say; “Let the rich to pay for the poor’s war!”
The activists were against to the power of wealthy and the power that enforces them to stay in poverty and misery. According to what they claimed, the amount of money spent on the summit for three days was more than twelve million dollars, which can be used to help eighty-thousand homeless people with housing. Also, the protesters made a ‘tent city’ around the protected boundary where they lived to protest the summit.
These have already been used in other cities, which was already shown in Pittsburgh, London, and the former host countries. Meanwhile, on June 25th, ‘The Feminist’s Against the G20’ performed a play and made a poster to express their thoughts. The feminists believed that people around the world had been suffered from war, racism, colonialism, economic inequalities and climate changes and this was all caused by the G20 countries who were making the most money out of it. Numerous organizations and campaigners gathered to demand reconstitution and reformation of the G20.
The article in the gray block is written by Maya Rolbin-Ghanie from the Toronto Media Co-op. The article discusses a firsthand experience from the protests at the G20 Summit:
Korea Should Learn From What Happened in Canada
Although there were many peaceful marches that took place throughout the weekend there was a small group of “black bloc” anarchists that became violent, smashing storefronts and burning several police vehicles. However, with the money Canada spent on the summit combined with the attitude of police and the way they were treating protesters and activists, the reason for the protest was no longer about the issues discussed at the G20 summit. Sadly because of these violent protestors the police had to act with force. Canada’s example can be good lesson to Korea. To have a peaceful conference, Korea, the host country of 5th G20 Summit, should listen to public’s complaints and not try enforcing anything too fast. According to the newspaper, Hankyoreh, the following are what Korea has been doing for the summit:
- Removing 2165 of the telegraph poles at the COEX where the conference will be held.
- Cracking down on the street vendors in Gangnam-gu where the conference will be held.
- Making a special guard law to safely finish G20 conference.
- Cracking down on illegal immigrants
- Changing signboards of stores using seven hundred million won
These changes can make our city look better and safe. However, these are not necessary for the G20. Does the Korean government have to spend astronomical amount of money on decorating the city? Some people say that it will effect tourism positively. But the ‘decorating’ is only being done where the conference will be held. Is the COEX the only district in Seoul? Readers will know the answer.
We now know what the G20 is about and what could potentially happen with protestors. As far as I am concerned, I believe in the meaning of the G20 and the possible positive effects will be a precious gift to all us. However, it is up to the government and the citizens to make it successful. What is your choice?
Emomotimi Azorbo, a deaf man unrelated to G20 organizing, was beaten and arrested because he did not hear police commands to stay off the road. Azorbo was handcuffed, preventing him from communicating with officers, who also refused his friend’s offer to interpret. Azorbo was refused an American Sign Language interpreter in the temporary jail where G20 arrestees are being held. He is charged with three counts of assaulting police plus resisting arrest.
While trying to film Azorbo’s violent arrest, Jesse Freeston, of the Real News Network, was punched in the face twice by police, and had his microphone temporarily confiscated while other media crowded around and yelled for the police to return it.
On Saturday, there was no sign of protester violence, among the 25, 000 plus people who took to the streets, contrary to what many corporate media reports are conveying. A few banks, franchises and corporations had their windows smashed in symbolic shows of property damage. On the contrary, levels of police violence have been extreme and brutal. Police repeatedly attacked and arrested peaceful protesters and journalists.
Later on in the day, there is footage of police charging out of their lines, about five at a time, and violently arresting peaceful protesters, one by one, dragging them back behind police lines, pushing them to the ground and handcuffed.
Mass arrests were conducted, and large numbers of people were arrested who happened to be in the area at the time.
After the violent arrests described above, a university woman was trampled by a cops on horses in Queen’s Park, a so-called “Free Speech Zone.” She was among other peaceful protestors in the park at the time, but did not manage to get out of the way fast enough. She was reportedly badly injured. The police arrested her.
Source : http://toronto.mediacoop.ca/story/erosion-rights-quick-descent/3886