G20 officials focus on global economy; Chinese Communist Party investigates Premier Wen Jiabao's personal finances; South Korea shuts down two nuclear reactors; South Sudan expels UN human rights officer; protesters gather over Ukraine election; and more

Top of the Agenda: G20 Officials Eye Gloomy Economic Scene

The eurozone crisis and the U.S. fiscal cliff took center stage at a two-day meeting of G20 officials beginning Sunday in Mexico City, where finance ministers and central bank governors from the world's leading economies gathered to discuss Greece's deadline, Spain's bailout, and the stalemate over a U.S. fiscal plan. Delegates pressed the United States to act decisively (Reuters) to avert a rush of spending cuts and tax hikes, warning that unless Congress reaches a deal after Tuesday's elections, about $600 billion in government spending cuts and higher taxes will kick in on January 1 and could push the U.S. economy back into recession. Spain's Economy Minister Luis de Guindos looks to outline the country's banking and labor reforms, but will not dwell (AFP) on why the country isn't seeking a sovereign bailout. The meeting, which comes shortly after the IMF and World Bank meeting in Tokyo, lacked key players, including U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, and the finance ministers of France and Brazil.

Analysis

"Several key figures, including U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi and the finance ministers of Brazil and France, are no-shows in Mexico. Their absence raises serious questions about the relevancy of the G20, which was anointed as the main coordinating body for economic policy in 2009. The G20 needs a break. The first move of Russia, which inherits the presidency from Mexico in 2013, should be to press the reset button," writes Kevin Carmichael of the Globe and Mail.

"The ECB has only announced the OMT program. So far, nobody has made an application. The Spanish prime minister is still playing hard to get and I doubt he will make an application this year. The OMT may end up as a phantom. As in Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale – I am writing this column from Denmark – it may not be very long until some child in the bond markets points out that Mario Draghi has no clothes," writes Wolfgang Münchau for the Financial Times.

"Beyond highlighting the risks to growth – which also include a weaker expansion of emerging markets and shocks in some commodities markets – the G20 won't determine any concrete action, all the more so with key officials absent. Participants in the discussion said they are more likely to focus on technical and regulatory issues," write Costas Paris and William Horobin for the Wall Street Journal.

 

What Will Be the Top Global Hot Spots in 2013?

Each year, CFR's Center for Preventive Action asks a group of experts to rank various violent contingencies in order of their importance to U.S. national security interests. Help them create that list by telling them what international conflicts you are worried about breaking out or escalating next year. Learn more and weigh in here.

 

PACIFIC RIM

Premier Wen Jiabao Calls for Probe Into Family's Fortune

The Chinese Communist Party launched an investigation, at Premier Wen Jiabao's request, into the claims made by the New York Times about Wen's family amassing at least $2.7 billion in assets (SCMP) during his premiership. The move comes as the CCP prepares its once-a-decade leadership transition on November 8.

This blog post from CFR's Scott A. Snyder discusses the challenges ahead for U.S. policy toward Asia, particularly China.

SOUTH KOREA: South Korea shut down two nuclear reactors (Yonhap) after the government declared that some parts had not been properly vetted, undermining confidence in the safety of reactors.

 

ELSEWHERE:

South Sudan expels UN human rights officer

Protesters gather over Ukraine election

This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org.

 

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