The Korea Herald


Assembly gears up for leaders’ forum

By 배현정

Published : May 17, 2011 - 18:27

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The National Assembly is all set to host the international forum of parliamentary leaders kicking off this week.

The Group of 20 Seoul Speakers’ Consultation is to start its three-day schedule on Wednesday, during which parliament speakers from G20 states and some select non-G20 states will promote inter-parliamentary cooperation and exchange.

An 18-member preparatory committee was established under the chairmanship of parliamentary secretary-general Kwon Oh-eul to organize the event.

“The large round table which was used in the G20 summit last year was installed in the main hall to display the connectivity of the two conferences,” said Kwon.

“We have also made maximum use of other convention appliances, which largely contributed to cost savings.”
A publicity booth at the G20 Seoul Speakers’ Consultation. (National Assembly) A publicity booth at the G20 Seoul Speakers’ Consultation. (National Assembly)

The cost of organizing the consultation totaled 1.6 billion won ($1.47 million), considerably lower than the expected 3 billion won, he said.

The event’s main sessions will be held in the Rotunda Hall, the assembly building’s main conference room where parliamentary sessions are usually held.

“It is significant that the discussion of inter-parliamentary cooperation and world peace should take place in the hall symbolizing the Korean parliamentary history,” said Park Hee-tae, parliamentary speaker and host of the Seoul Speakers’ Consultation.

“Many people may remember the hall as a location of jostling and screaming among lawmakers from rival parties who engaged in a melee over controversial bills. The consultation attended by speakers from leading countries is a chance to review such a negative image.”

Park also hosted on Monday the completion ceremony of Sarangjae, a traditional Korean wooden hanok house, next to the assembly’s main building.

The single-floored pine house, overlooking the Han River, consists of a main conference hall and reception room. It will be used for welcoming ceremonies and other cultural events.

“This hanok will add a touch of traditional culture and dignity to the National Assembly,” said parliamentary spokesperson Han Jong-tae.

Sarangjae was originally to be completed later this year, but its opening was moved forward to coincide with the G20 Seoul Speakers’ Consultation.

Forum participants are to take tea in Sarangjae on Friday, enjoying the river view with traditional Korean tea and snacks, officials said.

Efforts were also made in advance to secure the attendance by parliamentary leaders in the National Assembly’s largest-ever international event.

Speaker Park visited India in March and confirmed the participation of the upper chamber deputy chairman and the lower chamber speaker.

Vice speakers Chung Ui-hwa and Hong Jae-hyong also paid visits to Europe and South America, respectively.

To promote the event to the Korean public, advertisements were placed on electronic display boards across Seoul and in subway stations and trains.

Also, the front side of the main assembly building was covered by a huge banner and a promotional booth was set up next to the public service center in the building.

“My greatest achievement during my past year as assembly speaker is the Seoul Speakers Consultation, which I hope will cement people’s trust and pride in the assembly and our country’s global leadership,” Park said.

By Bae Hyun-jung (