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Sombre start for S. Korea

CONSTRUCTION of the Republic of Korea Pavilion for the 2010 World Expo broke ground yesterday amid mourning for the country's former-president Roh Moo-hyun, who committed suicide on Saturday. The ceremony was simplified because of his death and a planned display of firecrackers was canceled.

The South Korean Knowledge Economy Minister Lee Youn-Ho required all the attendees at the ceremony to be solemn. More than 100 South Korean politicians and businessmen were present and most of them wore black.

The atmosphere lightened a little when the South Korean singer and actress Jang Nara was appointed ambassador for the pavilion. She will welcome visitors to the pavilion during the Expo next year.

The country's pavilion will showcase blueprints of future cities along with its most advanced technology and traditional culture in its largest Expo pavilion ever at the Shanghai event.

The country, always among the most popular exhibitors at Expos, will build a three-story, 6,160-square-meter pavilion. The structure will look like the 20 basic letters of the South Korean alphabet.

The country's 2010 exhibit will be themed "Friendly City, Colorful Life."

The pavilion will cost US$20.72 million and about 5 million visitors are expected to tour the pavilion during the event.

South Korea has attended 17 World Expos since 1962. The country won the "Best Pavilion" at the 2005 Expo in Japan's Aichi and "Most Popular Pavilion" last year in Saragossa, Spain.


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