The Korea Herald


Busan welcomes BIE delegation

By Park Jun-hee

Published : April 4, 2023 - 15:32

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Delegates of the Bureau International des Expositions arrive at Busan Station on Tuesday morning. (Joint Press Corps) Delegates of the Bureau International des Expositions arrive at Busan Station on Tuesday morning. (Joint Press Corps)

The delegation dispatched by the Bureau International des Expositions arrived at Busan and was met with warm greetings from approximately 5,000 people on Tuesday morning as it began its on-site inspection of the southeastern port city amid its candidacy to host the 2030 World Expo.

The eight-member team led by Patrick Specht, president of the BIE Administration and Budget Committee, kicked off its four-day stay in Busan by attending a welcome event at Busan Station.

Upon arrival, multicultural families from 12 countries including Vietnam, China and Mongolia welcomed the inspection team, along with students from Sujeong Elementary School and Dongil Jungang Elementary School, holding Korean flags and posters that read, “Welcome” and “BUSAN IS READY.” The delegates also enjoyed a performance of pungmul, Korean traditional agricultural music and dance, performed by students.

Specht repeated, “Amazing,” while watching the welcome event. “This is something only Korea and Busan can do. I was amazed (by the welcome event, in which it seemed) as if I was a pop star,” Specht said.

After the greeting, the members of the international body visited Eulsukdo Island Ecology Park, an island that serves as the habitat for various aquatic plants and migratory birds, with rich soil and freshwater fish, to assess the realization of the theme, “Sustainable Living With Nature.”

Sustainability is one of the main themes of the 2030 Busan Expo and is aimed at creating an urban development model that works in harmony with natural ecosystems.

Officials observed animals reintroduced into their natural habitats after receiving treatment there and returned five birds to the wild.

The inspection team was also to receive second presentation about Busan's Expo bid from the bidding committee for the international exhibition. A dinner hosted by Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon and other city leaders was to follow, where the BIE officials were to be briefed on the municipality’s desire to host the World Expo.

The dinner was designed under the theme, “Busan’s spring,” to present a combination of Western and Korean dishes served with seasonal ingredients from the port city, including Hanwoo beef, water parsley and cutlassfish, all produced in the Busan area, according to the city government.

On Wednesday, the BIE officials plan to visit the proposed main expo venue and attend a luncheon with Busan civic groups as well as a “K-Culture Night” concert.

The delegation will leave Korea on Friday.