Yoon tells BIE delegation, 'Busan is ready'
Five-day on-site inspection begins for Busan's World Expo bidBy Shin Ji-hye
Published : April 3, 2023 - 15:37
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Monday told a delegation dispatched by the Bureau International des Expositions that the country's southeastern port city of Busan "is ready" to host the World Expo in 2030.
During a private dinner he hosted in the evening, the president said South Korea and its port city Busan have the capacity to host the international event and that the delegation team are going to see that.
"The Busan World Expo will provide an opportunity to share our diverse experiences and strengths, seek solutions to the challenges faced by humanity and foster innovation," he was quoted as saying at the dinner, which was held in the Sang Chun Jae, a wooden pavilion used to host VIP guests at Cheong Wa Dae, the former presidential office and residence. He also said Busan is city prepared to become a world-class maritime hub.
Responding to Yoon's remarks, Patrick Specht, president of the BIE Administration and Budget Committee, said the delegation values "broad support" for the expo the most while expressing gratitude for the hospitality shown by the government, business and parliament.
He told the president that the team was impressed by the unanimous support from the National Assembly for the expo earlier in the day.
Yoon was meeting the delegation as the team kicked off its field inspection of South Korea's bid to host the World Expo 2030 in Busan, a requirement for candidate countries to host the international exhibition.
The delegation is on a mission to evaluate the port city’s bid capacity, including its transportation, accommodations, finances and level of preparation. Their findings will be compiled in a due diligence report that is expected to be completed by May. This report will serve as the basis for voting on the host country for the 2030 World Expo, which is scheduled to take place at the end of November this year.
Busan is in competition with three other cities, including Rome, the Saudi capital of Riyadh, and the Ukrainian city of Odesa. The Expo is expected to run for six months, from May to the end of October 2030.
“All government agencies must make every effort to support the visiting schedule of the BIE inspection team,” said Yoon, presiding over a meeting of senior secretaries on Monday morning.
During a Cabinet meeting on March 28, Yoon also emphasized that the World Expo will provide an opportunity for governments, businesses and citizens to exchange ideas and collaborate on global issues such as poverty, economic growth and climate change, ultimately leading to innovation. He encouraged his secretaries to adopt an attitude of "Expo salesmen" to promote and support Busan's hosting of the event.
The delegation commenced their official inspection schedule on Monday in a meeting with Industry Minister Lee Chang-yang, who is responsible for the World Expo bid. At the meeting, the ministry presented plans for utilizing cutting-edge technologies such as holograms and urban air mobility simulators to set the nation apart from its competitors.
Following this meeting, a business luncheon was hosted by Chey Tae-won, chair of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry and co-chair of the bid committee. The delegation team also held meetings with Foreign Minister Park Jin, National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo and Prime Minister Han Duck-soo in the afternoon.
According to the Foreign Ministry, Minister Park told the delegation that the Busan Expo serves as a platform to achieve the Korean government's goal of becoming a pivotal state and enhancing its role and responsibilities within the international community. The BIE inspection team members reportedly expressed their appreciation for Minister Park's presentation for providing answers to most of their questions.
In the evening, the team was set to attend the Busan Expo promotional event in Gwanghwamun Plaza, which aims to showcase Korean citizens’ enthusiasm for hosting the World Expo.
The delegation will then travel to Busan on Tuesday and visit Eulsukdo Island Ecology Park to assess the realization of “Sustainable Living With Nature,” one of the main themes of the 2030 Busan Expo. They will also have the opportunity to observe animals that have been reintroduced to their natural habitats after receiving treatment.
On Wednesday, the delegates are scheduled to visit the North Port, the main proposed site for the Busan World Expo. They will also tour the publicity hall and observatory inside the recently renovated Busan Passenger Terminal as part of the inspection.
The publicity hall will showcase a video combining dioramas and three-dimensional graphics, which is intended to provide the inspection team with a comprehensive understanding of both the current site and future plans if Busan is chosen as the host city.
The delegation will also have the opportunity to attend a range of cultural and experiential events during its visit.
On Wednesday evening, the delegates will attend “K-Culture Night” at the Busan Cinema Center to experience various aspects of Korean culture. The following day, they will visit the United Nations Memorial Cemetery to understand the significance of promoting world peace through the World Expo. Finally, on Thursday evening, they will conclude their visit by watching a fireworks show held at Gwangalli Beach.
The BIE categorizes expositions into two types: Recognized Expos and Registered Expos. The Registered Expo, also known as World Expo, is a massive event that showcases the host country's capabilities and highlights global advancements in industry, science and technology. It serves as a platform for countries to exhibit their achievements and promote cultural exchange, international cooperation and economic development.
South Korea has previously hosted two recognized Expos -- at Daejeon in 1993 and at Yeosu in 2012. If selected, Korea will become the 12th country in the world and the fourth in Asia to host a World Expo.
The theme for Busan's World Expo bid is “Transforming Our World, Navigating Towards a Better Future." The theme acknowledges the need for fundamental transformation to create a better future in light of various global crises, such as climate change, technological inequality and social polarization.
"Korea has a wealth of experience in hosting international events and is making extensive preparations for the successful hosting of the 2030 Busan World Expo," the presidential office said. These preparations include constructing exhibition halls, expanding transportation infrastructure and providing a luxurious accommodation experience for guests.
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