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February 7, 2010

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Teamwork in event planning

OUR city of Yeosu and Shanghai are focusing on Expo-related cooperative efforts. Yeosu will host an Expo in 2012 and we want to share with Shanghai the valuable experiences learned in preparing for such an event.

During Expo 2008 in Zaragoza, Spain, we held a meeting with organizers of World Expo 2010 Shanghai. We want to foster further cooperation within the Northeast Asia Economic Circle.

Beyond Expo, we are also extending our teamwork with China in areas such as culture and sports, and are working with inland Chinese provinces on projects such as reforestation and sandstorm mitigation.

We are planning to focus Expo 2012 Yeosu on recreation and tourism and will operate marine tours for visitors. Like Shanghai, we must ensure smooth traffic during the Expo so that our visitors will get the most out of their experience. This is a challenge for both expositions. Other common tasks we face include climate issues, environmental protection, efficient energy use, and reduction of carbon-dioxide emissions.

As for Yeosu, another major purpose for hosting the Expo is to secure more financing from the South Korean central government to improve our infrastructure, which is inadequate at present. Just like Shanghai, we are determined to "build a better city."

Many people in inland China and elsewhere in the world have never seen the ocean. We think our theme of "The Living Ocean and Coast" will have a lot of appeal for people living far from seashores. South Korea has five sister cities in China.

We believe this theme and these ties will see more than 550,000 Chinese tourists visit Yeosu, or the figure may be 1 million, as I anticipate.

We are expecting 130,000 people a day on average to tour Expo 2012 Yeosu, though on any given day that number may reach up to 200,000.

The volume is no doubt beyond the city's current capacity. But we have a solution. We are going to link up with cities within two hours' travel to provide lodging and tourism services.

We will also provide camping and motor home facilities, and local families will be encouraged to provide rooms for visitors. Many local residents are already learning Chinese. I have also learned one Chinese sentence: Wo ai ni (I love you).

I don't know how many of our residents may visit the Expo Shanghai, but we are encouraging as many as possible to do so.

I can tell you that I will be attending and will bring with me the good wishes of all my 300,000 fellow residents.


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