Korea takes centre stage

Korea chairs the G20 club of industrialised nations this year and is keen to set a new world agenda, while worries about debt mount at home.

While South Korea's speed skaters were winning a record haul of medals at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in late February, its civil servants were busy preparing for a meeting that would inaugurate the country's ascendancy in another way. Less dramatic, perhaps just as significant, certainly.

Intense, excited officials and their researchers were bunkered in Samchungdong in central Seoul, putting the final touches to the agenda for a meeting in Songdo, Incheon, of deputy finance ministers and central bankers from the world's major industrialised nations. The meeting officially opened the G20 process in 2010, which this year is chaired by South Korea for the first time.

And although most eyes were simultaneously focused...

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