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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on Sept. 13)

Editorials from Korean dailies 06:56 September 13, 2022

Expo race heats up

Korea has thrown its hat into the ring for Busan's bid to host the 2030 World Expo by submitting its application to the Bureau International des Exposition (BIE) in Paris, Wednesday. The venue for the expo will be determined via votes by the BIE's 170 member countries in November next year. The Expo is regarded as one of the three major global events, along with the Olympics and the World Cup.

As the competition is now in full swing, it's high time to step up nationwide campaigns toward that end, mustering support from the central government, businesses and the people as well as Busan. The 2030 event is a World Expo held every five years. Its status is higher than the Specialized Expo, such as the ones already hosted by Daejeon and Yeosu in 1993 and 2012, respectively.

The host nation may offer venues while the participating countries are set to pay the cost for the construction and management of their own exhibition pavilions. The event is expected to draw some 200 participating countries that will display their state-of-the-art science and technologies for up to a six-month duration. It will likely attract an aggregate 35 million visitors from around the globe.

Busan expects the 2030 event will have the effect of generating some 43 trillion won ($31 billion) economic value and even 61 trillion won including value added. By hosting the global gala, Korea will be able to flex its soft power caliber to the world, thus prompting the further spread of hallyu, or the Korean wave. It will be a precious opportunity for Busan to make a leap toward to become a global mega city. In a nutshell, the event will provide the nation with unmistakable chances to upgrade the national prestige paired with commercial profits, despite the possible 6.5 trillion won cost of hosting the event.

The hosting competition will be a three-way against Riyadh of Saudi Arabia and Rome of Italy. War-torn Ukraine's Odesa has also made a bid for the event. Riyadh made its bid first, eager to lead the race, apparently riding on its "oil power." Yet, Busan is ready to make a stride in its expo bid, highlighting its merits as a hub for global trade and logistics, equipped with advanced information and communication technologies.

Major businesses have begun rolling up their sleeves to boost the bid to host the event. For starters, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong met with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador at the presidential office Thursday to call for Mexico's cooperation for the expo bid. Businesses made considerable contributions for the nation to host major global events such as the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the 2002 World Cup. It is proper for the Yoon Suk-yeol government to have tapped the 2030 World Expo as a key national goal. Other business leaders from SK, Lotte and Hyundai Motor groups should double down on promoting the city's bid.
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