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PM envisions Busan World Expo's role in sharing 'rise from ashes' experience

Nov. 16, 2023 - 16:01 By Son Ji-hyoung
Prime Minister Han Duck-soo speaks with participants at a breakfast networking event hosted by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Paris on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of Prime Minister's office)

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo highlighted the World Expo's role of sharing the host country's experience of its rise from the ashes of the war, should it take place in Busan in 2030.

"We envision the World Expo in Busan that is not just a six-month event, but a forum to share the experience of our rapid development with other BIE members," Han said in a news conference in Seoul on Thursday. The Bureau International des Expositions oversees the international exhibitions.

"Our goal is to maintain our contribution to solving the problem of the international community, with the government aid and private-sector investment combined, in the next 10, 20 or 30 years."

South Korea suffered the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, just five years after its independence from Japanese colonial rule that had stretched over three decades. Busan served as the wartime capital and last bastion of national power.

In 1960, seven years after the armistice, South Korea's gross domestic product came to $4 billion. The economy had grown over 416 times in 2022 compared with that of 1960.

"Importantly, South Korea we know today is built on the international aid during and after the Korean War," Han said. "Now it is time to come up with a creative way to share our experience and policies with foreign countries."

When asked about the chances of winning the bid, Han declined to comment, but added that Seoul will cherish "the diplomatic assets it accumulated" through the Expo bid promotion.

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo speaks during a news conference at the Government Complex Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)

The remarks came as Han returned to Seoul on Wednesday after wrapping up a four-day trip to Paris to hold talks with officials from 50 countries to promote Busan's World Expo bid. These ideas behind Busan's World Expo bid were presented to Han's counterparts during his trip there, according to the prime minister.

Meanwhile, Han stressed that 2030 is not only the year for the World Expo, but also the year for midterm evaluation of the Nationally Determined Contributions for climate mitigation and for the final assessment of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This highlights Busan's idea to ensure "inclusive growth" of the world.

The BIE is set to hold a general assembly in Paris to announce the host city of the 2030 World Expo on Nov. 28. A total of 182 member nations are to cast a vote for one of the candidates out of the three in the running -- Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh, Italy's Rome and Busan.