The Korea Herald


Yoon asks municipalities to unite for Busan’s World Expo bid

By Park Jun-hee

Published : April 6, 2023 - 15:22

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(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Thursday urged leaders of local governments to go all out in support of Busan’s bid to host the World Expo 2030.

During a regional cooperation council meeting held in the afternoon, the president said that hosting the global event is a task for the whole country, calling on central and local governments to work as “one team.”

“The (Busan) Expo will be an international event where we can share our development experiences with the international community and create global innovation by setting out visions (for combating) climate change and (achieving) digital transformation,” Yoon said, as part of his efforts to bring the expo to Busan.

Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo and the governors and mayors of 17 municipalities attended the meeting. Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon also attended to show his support for a successful bid against Rome, the Saudi capital of Riyadh and the Ukrainian city of Odesa.

Yoon also called for broader support from local governments to contribute to winning the hearts of the 171 member states of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) through international networking and discussions.

He also reiterated the importance of bringing the World Expo to Busan, emphasizing that the international event is something the country must host in order to leap forward as a “global pivotal state,” and to achieve balanced growth between regions.

Prior to the meeting, heads of municipalities, governors and mayors of cities in Korea said they are ready to offer full support for Busan’s bid, saying that they would discuss ways to help the southeastern port city to garner more attention in the race to host the global event.

Four local councils -- the Association of Governors, the Association of Metropolitan and Provincial Council Chairs, the National Association of Mayors and the National Association of Local Council Chairmen -- adopted a joint resolution to back Busan’s bid.

The resolution states that the councils will increase efforts for the event, utilize diplomatic skills to support BIE member states, strive for balanced growth across the country and create a cooperation model between central and local authorities.

The South Korean government has been going all out for the bid, calling it a “crucial opportunity” to create a tourism boom and massive infrastructure development.

In February, the Governors Association of Korea, comprised of governors from 17 municipalities, launched a special committee to support Busan’s World Expo bid. Fueled by the desire to bring the global event to Korea, the committee members have since gone to great lengths by holding regular meetings and conducting promotion activities through local governments.