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Korea makes last-ditch bid to host World Expo 2030 in Busan

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Foreign Minister Park Jin speaks with representatives of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) member countries to promote Busan's World Expo 2030 bid in Paris, Sept. 29. Courtesy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs

By Baek Byung-yeul

Korea has gone all-out to win its bid to host the World Expo 2030 in Busan, with the host city selection coming up Nov. 28. The government and business community are making a last push by mobilizing all available resources to ensure that the southern port city will get to host the international event, according to administration and industry officials, Monday.

Busan, Korea's second-largest city, is competing with Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and Italy's Rome, to host the 2030 event. The BIE, the organizing body, will hold its General Assembly in Paris, Nov. 28, and its 181 member countries will vote for the host city.

Foreign Minister Park Jin visited Paris, Sept. 28, to promote Busan's bid. During the visit, he held a luncheon with Dimitri Kerkentzes, secretary general of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), and representatives from various countries to ask for their support.

During the meeting with the secretary general, the foreign minister emphasized that "the theme Busan is trying to show at the World Expo is timely as international solidarity is needed to respond to global challenges such as climate change and digital transformation."

Industry Minister Bang Moon-kyu meets with Jose Maria Pereira Neves, president of Cabo Verde in the African nation's presidential office, Sept. 29, to promote economic ties between the two countries and Korea's bid to host the World Expo 2030 in Busan. Courtesy of Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy

Industry Minister Bang Moon-kyu also traveled to the African nation of Cabo Verde, Sept. 29, to win support for Busan's bid. There, Bang met with Jose Maria Pereira Neves, president of Cabo Verde, and delivered a letter from President Yun Suk Yeol requesting support for the Expo bid. The ministers also discussed agricultural, economic and energy infrastructure cooperation.

The Yoon Suk Yeol administration has prioritized hosting the event as one of its primary tasks and has actively worked on promoting Busan's s bid to the international community. "If we are convinced that the global market and the World Expo is ours and throw ourselves into it, they will be ours," the president said during a Sept. 25 cabinet meeting.

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo and Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group and the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), co-chairs of the bid committee, have vowed to mobilize all the country's capabilities over the next two months to garner support from BIE members.

"As the competition for candidate countries is becoming increasingly fierce, the efforts of the remaining two months will have a decisive impact on the final outcome," Han said during the bid committee's meeting Sept. 26, calling on the government to implement a customized bid strategy for each country, and for the private sector to work harder on the bid.

Chey also pledged active support from the private sector, saying, "If we do not neglect any country and pay close attention to every BIE delegate, we will be able to achieve our goal."

To counter Riyadh and Rome, Korea is touting its experience in successfully hosting many global events. Also, it suggested the Busan Initiative, which promises to address issues such as digital inequality and climate change that require joint international action through the World Expo 2030.

The bidding committee plans to actively promote Busan's bid by holding a symposium in Paris, Oct. 9, inviting ambassadors from BIE member countries; and a meeting with international journalists.

In addition to the government's efforts, the private sector is also planning to promote Busan's Expo bid.

SK Group will hold a CEO Seminar in Paris from Oct. 16 to 18 with CEOs of the group's affiliates and other key executives. The seminar is a yearly event where the group looks back on business and prepares strategies for the coming year. Through this event, not only Chairman Chey but all the group's CEOs will gather in Paris to promote Busan's Expo bid.

CJ ENM, the entertainment unit of CJ Group, will hold a K-pop concert called Mcountdown In France in Paris, Oct. 15, to promote Busan's Expo bid.

Baek Byung-yeul


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