Saturday, January 7, 2012

Exploration: Into 'Ocean world'


YEOSU ― This southern port city is undergoing a last-minute makeover to host an international expo, whose opening is only five months away.

The transformation, set to be finished by February, will turn the largely rural and tranquil fishing hamlet into a global arena where more than 100 countries and international organizations will share their state-of-the-art technologies for the eco-friendly use of oceans and coastal areas.

The Yeosu Expo will run between May 12 and Aug. 12 next year under the theme “The Living Ocean and Coast.”

The 93-day event will promote Korea’s ability to efficiently use the ocean and coastal areas for sustainable growth and, at the same time, serve as a “major multinational dialogue” to come up with best practices for the preservation and sensible development of oceans, coastal areas and maritime resources, according to the expo’s organizing committee.

The committee aims to attract 8 million people, including 550,000 foreigners.

The railroad for the KTX bullet train was extended to the venue late last year, enabling people in Seoul ― home to more than 10 million and 20 percent of the entire population ― to reach the site in less than three hours.

Cruise boats from the United States, Italy, Japan and China will be allowed to anchor near the site. The committee will also run high-speed ferries linking Yeosu and Jeju Island during the event to help bolster the venue’s attractiveness for tourism.

President Lee Myung-bak has vowed his full support for the expo, saying “The Yeosu Expo will play a pivotal role in promoting the country’s vision of sustainable growth to the world.”

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