G20 and APEC fail to deliver enforceable deals of currency and protectionism; Obama returns to US to face unfinished business; Suu Kyi urges reconciliation and rule of law; Netanyahu wants to return to peace talks (and billions of dollars); Is Ireland negotiating an EU bailout?: and more

Top of the Agenda: Obama Wraps Up Asia Tour

President Barack Obama ended his ten-day tour through Asia (IHT), wrapping up a two-day meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Yokohama with few concrete gains other than an agreement to seek a regional free-trade zone. The twenty-one APEC leaders also agreed to remove protectionist measures and to avoid sharp moves in the foreign exchange markets. But traders criticized that agreement (WSJ), as well as last week's G20 meeting in Seoul, for failing to deliver enforceable measures on foreign exchange or trade policies.

Obama returns to a post-election Washington with Republicans poised to challenge his agenda and with a raft of unfinished domestic and foreign policy goals (Bloomberg), including a compromise on extending Bush-era income tax cuts, a revised free-trade agreement with South Korea, and ratification of New START. Obama has scheduled a November 18 meeting with congressional leaders to discuss legislative priorities before he heads to a NATO meeting in Lisbon this weekend, where the United States will present a plan to wind down the engagement in Afghanistan (al-Jazeera).

Analysis

On issues from tackling global imbalances to advancing trade liberalization, the G20 meeting in Seoul exposed widening fissures in the group, says CFR's Stewart Patrick.

Obama is learning that foreign policy is always easier to negotiate from a position of strength, writes David Rothkopf in this Financial Times piece.

Background

Read the statement from the APEC leaders.

Read the G20 communiqué.

 

PACIFIC RIM: Freed Suu Kyi Pushes Change

Freed democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi (CNN), who spent fifteen of the past twenty-one years under house arrest, told supporters she needed their help to push for national reconciliation and the rule of law.

Though the November 7 elections in Burma might have some impact in bringing a more educated and worldly government into office, Suu Kyi's release is not likely to mean a real political opening, writes CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick.

South Korea: Defections from North Korea into South Korea have risen markedly in recent years as economic conditions in the North have worsened (NYT), South Korean officials say, with more than 2,000 having defected so far this year and some 2,900 last year.

 

ELSEWHERE:

- Netanyahu Lobbies for US Incentives Deal
- EU Mulls Ireland Bailout

 

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

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