The leaders of the world's 20 major economies on Friday ended a frequently rancorous two-day summit in this Northeast Asian capital without reaching agreement on specific steps to avert damaging currency and trade wars.President Obama, fresh from a trip to India where he said this major rival of China should get a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, was picking a fight with Beijing over their currency devaluation and trying to get the other eighteen participants to choose a side.
There were far more setbacks than gains, but President Obama suffered the biggest disappointment, falling short in his attempt to forge a unified approach to boosting the global economy.
In one blow, G-20 members refused to endorse a U.S. effort to force China to raise the value of its currency, prolonging a bitter dispute that many say could eventually lead to a global trade war. Before world leaders left the city, they issued a watered-down statement agreeing merely to refrain from "competitive devaluation" of currencies.
The previous day, the U.S. and South Korea acknowledged that they remained in a stalemate over a free-trade agreement that has languished in the national legislatures of both nations.
Meanwhile, his "shellacking" in the midterm elections reportedly means he has lost a lot of leverage when it comes to things like renegotiating free-trade agreements.
And by the way, where are the everyone-wearing-hanbok pics? Oh, wait. That's APEC.