[D-30] Busan Expo to show solidarity through value of freedom: presidential envoy Jang Sung-min, special envoy of the president and senior secretary for future strategy, speaks at a banquet promoting Busan’s 2030 World Expo bid in Paris earlier this month attended by some 50 Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) members. [JANG SUNG-MIN] Korea’s “national brand value,” with the rise of K-pop and cultural soft power, along with the desire to share its unique economic development experience, is a part of the global appeal of Busan’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo, according to the president’s special envoy. “Many countries consider Korea a role model for economic development,” Jang Sung-min, special envoy of the president and senior secretary for future strategy, said in an interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily on Wednesday, with around one month left until the host city is selected. “The sincerity of a country that used to receive foreign aid and has developed into a donor country that provides aid today, and still has not forgotten its past, can move many countries.” He said Team Korea is keeping all strategies open in the final stretch while preparing for a scenario of a runoff election if a two-thirds majority is not reached in the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) general assembly’s secret ballot on Nov. 28. Jang, on behalf of President Yoon Suk Yeol, has been traveling the world, from France, where the BIE is headquartered, to Albania and Kenya. He has been drumming up Busan’s merits and conveying Korea’s wishes to help other countries’ development through sharing its own economic transformation, overcoming the devastating 1950-53 Korean War. While he said he couldn’t share the specifics of which countries he will prioritize in the coming month ahead of the vote, he said “public-private cooperation,” with the government and companies coming together, has been the key to effective outreach. Jang said Team Korea is “not afraid of shedding blood, sweat and tears” to promote Busan’s bid in the final stretch. He stressed that the Expo is not only a part of the president’s campaign pledge but reflects his philosophy on state affairs and the value of freedom. “If Busan develops into a global logistics center and becomes a global free port, it will become a pillar of Korea’s economic leap forward,” Jang said. He noted that the economic effect of the Expo could amount to 60 trillion won ($44.1 billion) and create more than 500,000 jobs for young people. He envisioned a World Expo in Busan as a “grand global festival where the world and Korea become one” to face challenges and transformations together. “Given that Busan is a connection point between the Pacific Ocean and the Eurasian continent, I believe that a new Asian version of Hellenism, or a creative fusion culture, can be created by connecting the cultures of the ocean and the continent,” he said, envisioning the port city as a global hub for the “new Asia-Pacific era.” The following are edited excerpts of the interview. Q. The government and businesspeople have carried out various activities promoting Busan’s bid around the globe. What does “One Team Korea” signify? A. We seek to pursue new governance by creating a win-win cooperation model between countries and businesses, the public and the private sector. President Yoon is pursuing such new governance through public-private cooperation through the Expo bid. This will be a meaningful milestone on Korea’s path to becoming a global hub country. This is in line with the president’s philosophy on state affairs and the ebb and flow of change at the global level. We have now entered an era where all countries, societies, companies, organizations and individuals must work together to solve the problems we face. Therefore, we have become a world where countries, companies, governments and citizens can coexist through cooperation and solidarity. Countries and global companies have their strengths, and their energy is maximized when they unite and cooperate. How would you describe Korea’s World Expo bid strategy so far? Our Expo bid strategy unfolded differently at each situation and stage. Depending on the strategies and movements of the competitor, an appropriate counter-strategy may be set. Broadly speaking, it is divided into a pre-emptive offensive strategy and a preventive and defensive strategy of maintaining the status quo, but the best approach is to keep an unchanging and consistent strategy. A sustainable strategy to host the Expo, no matter the situation, and not be afraid of shedding blood, sweat and tears. Currently, the public-private cooperation strategy is showing the best combination. This is a part of new governance, which reflects the president’s philosophy of running state affairs, and it seems to be an attractive approach that all countries covet. I think it’s simply magical that the government and citizens can work together to form an orchestra of cooperation for the country’s tomorrow. Jang Sung-min, left, special envoy of the president and senior secretary for future strategy, shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron at the 18th Summit of La Francophonie, where French-speaking countries gathered in Djerba, Tunisia, in November 2022. [OFFICE OF SECRETARY FOR FUTURE STRATEGY] What is Team Korea’s final approach with one month left until the BIE general meeting? Korea has been at the center of the history of industrial development, and we have been employing a “how to fish strategy.” We have an epic story of developing from the ashes of colonialism, poverty and war into today’s center of the fourth industrial revolution and a semiconductor powerhouse. We explained to world leaders how we will share this experience with the international community. Many countries consider Korea a role model for economic development. That is the charm and magic of Korea. Ultimately, we need to convince them that Korea is a country with tolerance, that understands the pain of countries experiencing difficulties, and that we are a country that stands with them. The sincerity of a country that used to receive foreign aid and has developed into a donor country that provides help today and still has not forgotten its past can move many countries. We are also doing our utmost to provide cooperative aid to the Global South, approximately 150 developing countries facing food shortages, diseases and education crises. To save the Earth from global climate change, we will lead the way in promoting international environmentally friendly green policies and clean energy policies. For our country to build a worldwide network, we must travel to every corner of the globe to promote our global vision and market our appeal. We must share the spirit of “sharing and caring,” which means listening to the world’s thoughts, sharing their difficulties, and bearing burdens together. To put this into practice, we need to refine and manage our global diplomatic network, resource diplomacy, and the worldwide market and labor force, which is like tending a garden. In particular, we must strengthen economic and security cooperation with African, Latin American, Caribbean and Pacific island countries. Is Korea preparing for the possibility of a runoff election? We are, of course, preparing a Plan B strategy in case of a runoff election. I call this the Plan V strategy or the Plan Victory strategy. This reflects the “can do spirit” of the “BTS strategy,” to do our best without hesitation, shedding blood, tears and sweat. Korean singer Psy brings “Gangnam Style” moves to his presentation promoting Busan’s 2030 World Expo bid at the 172nd general assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions in Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris, on June 21. [NEWS1] Do you have any memorable experiences in your efforts to promote the Expo bid abroad? What is most memorable is the realization that only Korea seems unaware that its national brand’s value is rising as high as the autumn sky. Everyone is singing along to Korea and thinking of the Korean economy as a new development model, but we are the only ones who don’t know this. The world is now genuine and passionate about the power of the K-brand. They are all immersed in learning how a country with no underground resources, the third poorest, grew into the world’s 10th largest economy by overcoming colonialism, war, poverty, civil war and division. And they’ve fallen for the K-pop, K-dramas, K-movies, K-foods, K-beauty and K-culture that has been enthralling the world. Some leaders shed tears when I explained to them that our yesterday was Africa’s today, emphasizing the “can do spirit,” saying that you can do what we did and that Korea is ready to help. I don’t speak for myself. As President Yoon’s special envoy, I mainly represent and convey the president’s philosophy, thoughts and words. What does hosting the World Expo signify for Korea? Korea will be able to advance into the global market and, simultaneously become a global market in itself. This opens the door to tremendous opportunities. In this process, I believe we will become more competitive through global solidarity in all aspects, including the economy, cooperation with the international community, sharing and caring. Broadening our perspective will serve as an opportunity to increase the international community’s interest in Asia. Given that Busan is a connection point between the Pacific Ocean and the Eurasian continent, I believe that a new Asian version of Hellenism, or a creative fusion culture, can be created by connecting the cultures of the ocean and the continent. Front left, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, special presidential envoy Jang Sung-min and Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon applaud during the Busan Expo Symposium 2023 in Paris on Oct. 9. [PRIME MINISTER’S SECRETARIAT] How does Busan plan to showcase a differentiated Expo experience from its competitors? Busan was the last bastion of freedom during the Korean War. Without Busan, today’s freedom, prosperity, or the Republic of Korea would not have existed. Busan is a city with a great story as a free city port preserved during the war. The more we share Busan’s narrative with the international community, the greater our bond with the world will become. Our sense of global solidarity will also grow. This is Korea’s appeal and soft power. While looking at the vast sky and sea from the white sandy beach of Haeundae in Busan, I thought a new era would begin when that path opened. In particular, when the Northern Sea route opens by 2030, the distance from the Busan port to Europe will be about 5,000 kilometers closer than the current equatorial route. Costs can be reduced by as much as 25 percent. Naturally, shipping traffic to Europe at Busan Port will increase explosively. The importance of Busan is bound to grow gradually. Through connecting the Pacific Ocean and the Eurasian continent, a Busan World Expo will be a global game changer that can advance the world toward peace and technological advancement through the coexistence of humans and nature. What is the president’s vision for the 2030 Expo? President Yoon is making big plans to grow Busan into a global city like New York, Osaka and Shanghai. “Busan is ready,” one of our Expo slogans, is not just a nice catchphrase. Busan is a city that is already prepared. The drive to host the Expo will develop the free port of Busan into a global mega-port. We will be able to share a stronger sense of solidarity with the world through the value of freedom, a global value. The Busan Expo is the president’s election promise and one of the top 100 government goals. President Yoon would like to be remembered as a president who kept his promises. Furthermore, the president’s national philosophy is the value of freedom. If Busan becomes a global logistics center and free port, it will become a pillar of Korea’s economic leap forward. What kind of Expo can the world expect from Busan? Busan will provide people worldwide with a no single-use plastic Expo, offering alternatives to respond to climate change. The Expo will export freedom, global solidarity and unity with the Global South. We dream of an Expo of freedom, peace and prosperity that makes the world dance. An Expo where the “Blue Fish” of the blue sea and the “Green Bird” of the green forest, who have found global freedom, say “the Earth is us,” coexist with humans and dance and sing with nature. We dream of a transformative Expo where technologies coexist to open a better tomorrow. It will be a golden opportunity for the Republic of Korea to become the center of the fourth industrial revolution by accumulating new renewable energy technologies to overcome global warming and climate change, becoming the international standard as a leading advanced civilization. The 2030 World Expo in Busan could be a grand global festival where the world and Korea become one, and through this, we, as well as humanity, will face significant changes. Of course, the core of that profound change will be opening a world that pursues greater freedom, peace and prosperity. In that respect, the Busan Expo will be a golden opportunity for Korea to emerge as a global hub. BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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