April 6, 2023 Yonhap News/ S. Korea's Busan has everything to host 2030 World Expo
- Date2023-04-06 00:00:00
(4th LD) S. Korea's Busan has everything to host 2030 World Expo: BIE delegation chief
BUSAN, April 6 (Yonhap) -- Busan has everything needed to host the 2030 World Expo, the chief of the international committee delegation said Thursday, as it was to wrap up its on-site inspection in South Korea's candidate city for the event with attendance at the final bidding presentation, a lunch with young citizens and a fireworks show on Thursday.
Patrick Specht, president of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) administration and budget committee, made the comments in a press conference in the southeastern port city as he visited as the chief of the eight-member delegation. His team is on a six-day trip to South Korea for an inspection, which started Sunday.
The official said Busan has everything that it would need to host the World Expo, noting his team received a warm welcome from the people of the city and the South Korean government, and had good experiences during the trip.
The inspection was meant to verify if Busan will be able to host the event in financial and logistical terms, and if there is enough political backing, as well as enough support from private companies and citizens, he added.
The delegation received the fourth and final bid presentation from the Bid Committee for World Expo 2030 Busan.
In the presentation, the delegates were briefed on Busan's expo-related preparedness in overall fields, such as finance and public relations, as well as the redevelopment project of Busan North Port, the proposed main expo venue, and plans to build expo facilities there.
The BIE officials then visited the United Nations Memorial Cemetery, a burial ground for U.N. Command service members killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, to reflect on the meaning of realizing world peace through the expo.
Four members of the delegation are from Germany, Greece, France and Italy, which are among the countries that helped South Korea in the war under the U.N. flag.
A children's choir sang songs such as "Amazing Grace" and "We are the World" for the BIE delegation in front of a memorial monument at the cemetery.
They had lunch together with people in their 20s and 30s, including international students studying in Busan, to directly listen to their desire to host the 2030 global fair.
A farewell dinner was held for the delegation at Busan's Nurimaru APEC House attended by President Yoon Suk Yeol and Prime Minister Han Duck-soo along with other Cabinet members, as well as municipal chiefs and provincial governors.
The BIE delegates and other attendees at the dinner watched a large-scale maritime fireworks display presented above the city's Gwangalli Beach to promote the city's expo bid.
The delegation plans to leave South Korea on Friday via Busan's Gimhae International Airport and Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul.
Busan, South Korea's second-largest city located 325 kilometers southeast of Seoul, is competing with Italy's Rome, Ukraine's Odesa and Saudi Arabia's Riyadh to host the 2030 World Expo overseen by the Paris-based organization.
The BIE officials began their six-day trip to South Korea on Sunday amid a warm welcome from all circles of Korean society.
Over the past four days, they have met with people from all walks of life, including Yoon, government officials, lawmakers, business leaders and ordinary citizens, to witness the nation's enthusiasm toward Busan's successful expo bid.
Notably, representatives of Busan civic groups delivered 120,000 paper cranes to the BIE team during their lunch on Wednesday.
Based on their belief that folding 1,000 origami cranes would lead to good fortune and make a dream come true, Busan citizens started to fold paper cranes last December and the number has topped 120,000.
In Busan, the BIE delegates received a rock star welcome at Busan Station and elsewhere in the city, where more than 2,000 banners wishing for the city's successful expo bid were attached to street lamps along the main streets.
On Wednesday, they toured Busan North Port despite gusty winds and heavy spring rain. The North Port area's 1.98 million square meter lot (equivalent to 277 football fields), which is close to the city's main train station and central commercial zone, has been envisioned as the main venue of the 2030 World Expo.
The Korean Council of Religious Leaders issued a joint statement Thursday wishing for Busan's success in hosting the 2030 World Expo.
The statement said Busan is the perfect place to host the expo because the city is a hub of the Korean Wave visited by some 40 million tourists annually and has excellent transportation, tourism and industrial infrastructure.
The BIE completed its inspections of Odesa and Riyadh last month and plans to visit Rome later this month. Its findings will be released to all 171 member states during a general assembly in June. The winning bid is scheduled to be announced in November.
Fireworks are set off above Gwangalli Beach in South Korea's southeastern port city of Busan on April 6, 2023, to promote the city's bid to host the 2030 World Expo. (Yonhap)