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G0 world without U.S. at center stage

Posted July. 11, 2017 07:40,   

Updated July. 11, 2017 07:55


Watchers say that the G20 summit, which took place in Hamburg, Germany last week, was not a G20 summit but G19+1 in which the U.S. was confronting the rest of the member countries. The communique stated on the Paris climate deal, reading, “We pay attention to the U.S." decision to exit the Paris agreement. The heads of other G20 members declare that the Paris agreement is irreversible.” On response to climate change, the U.S. and other member states had differing views, and the communique also included a provision reflecting the differences in their respective positions.


The G20 is an expansion of leadership in the global economy to include emerging economies due to the recognition that a global crisis cannot be overcome only through a meeting of advanced countries such as G7 since the global financial crisis in 2008. In the wake the Hamburg summit, the G20 summit is now being tested to determine whether the 19 countries without the U.S. can resolve pending issues in the global economy.


The latest G20 summit has taken place for the first time since U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration. As the U.S. failed to play any central role unlike in previous G20 summits, President Trump returned to the U.S. even without holding a press conference at the closing of the summit. The U.S. media reported that it has been revealed that the U.S. is no longer a star of the world. The very fact President Trump pursues the "America First" doctrine means that the U.S. is now facing a situation wherein it has to go after its own interests rather than world order just like any other countries.  


The U.S. is backpedaling to "protectionism" in the economic aspect and demanding its military allies including NATO to increase their contributions to the joint defense cost. After the Second World War, the U.S. and the Soviet Union had been G2 countries before the Soviet Union stepped down as a G2 nation due to its dismantlement, and now the U.S. is giving up the G1 position. The world is opening a G0 era when major countries including the U.S., China, Russian and China are fiercely competing.


In his recent summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, President Trump demanded revision to the South Korea-U.S. free trade pact and a hike in South Korea’s contributions to defense budget sharing. The U.S. seems to have no interest in maintaining its stature of the past when it maintained its dominance by giving benefits in the South Korea-U.S. relations. Even if President Trump ends his term in three and half years, the situation will unlikely change. It is about time that South Korea should adapt itself to the change, and agonize over how to ensure and boost its national interests amid such changes.