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Busan mayor meets Bulgarian president to muster support for Expo 2030

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Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon, left, met Bulgarian President Rumen Radev at the Bulgarian Presidential Office in Sofia, Nov. 30. Courtesy of Busan Metropolitan City
Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon, left, met Bulgarian President Rumen Radev at the Bulgarian Presidential Office in Sofia, Nov. 30. Courtesy of Busan Metropolitan City

By Ko Dong-hwan

Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon, who is currently visiting Europe to promote the southern port city's bid to host Expo 2030, met Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, Wednesday, to drum up support from the East European country.

The mayor handed Radev a letter from President Yoon Suk-yeol during the meeting at the Bulgarian Presidential Office in Sofia, seeking cooperation and support for Busan's expo mission.

The meeting, according to Busan Metropolitan City, was constructive for both sides in terms of future exchanges. The Bulgarian president said he wishes to hold a summit with Yoon and develop bilateral relations into a strategic partnership. Radev said that once the bilateral relationship is strengthened, the European nation's support for Busan's expo bid will follow.

Park said that Expo 2030 is "not just a simple event" but will kick-start cooperation between the two countries, which will "be beneficial to each country in the long term." He added that the two countries are "similar in terms of their geographical location and rich cultural backgrounds, which can help them seek a common ground to plan national interests over the long term."

At a meeting with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon promoted the city's bid to host Expo 2030 and hoped the two countries' relationship will develop into the European nation's support for Busan's expo mission. Courtesy of Busan Metropolitan City
At a meeting with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon promoted the city's bid to host Expo 2030 and hoped the two countries' relationship will develop into the European nation's support for Busan's expo mission. Courtesy of Busan Metropolitan City

Arriving in Bulgaria following the 171st General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in Paris, the mayor was interviewed by 24chasa, a local Bulgarian news outlet, and explained the purpose of his visit. The interview, according to the Busan city government, was aired by the country's state-run broadcaster, Bulgaria National Television. The city government expected the interview with 24chasa to provide critical leverage and draw positive responses from across Europe.

Park met Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova at the Bulgarian capital's city hall, Thursday, and forged a friendly partnership between the two cities. It was the first pact of that type to be signed with a European city and will allow Korea's second-biggest city to work with Sofia in various sectors, including tourism, culture, education, IT and renewable energy.

The Busan mayor also met with Bulgaria's Minister of Economy and Industry Nikola Stoyanov, who is in charge of the country's ties with BIE. Park briefed Stoyanov about the purpose and direction of the southern port city's Expo 2030 bid. Busan city government said the minister "showed high interest in bilateral trade, broader investments, as well as cooperation in the defense industry."

Busan Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Jang In-wha and the organization's high-level officials also joined the mayor's meeting with the Bulgarian minister, according to Busan Metropolitan City.

"Rather than short-term goals, long-term goals should be shared as common mutual interests for the relationship between Busan and Bulgaria to develop," the mayor said in a press release. "I hope the new bilateral partnership gets to a practical level and transitions to Bulgaria's support for Busan's expo hosting bid."


Ko Dong-hwan aoshima11@koreatimes.co.kr


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