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South Korea Seeks to Expand Marine Capabilities
South Korea seeks to emerge as a marine superpower of Asia by increasing investment in building logistics infrastructure for trades by ships and initiating various measures to protect the marine environment.

To raise public awareness of the importance of marine industries for the country¡¯s economy, the government will hold a variety of nationwide events today in celebration of the 10th Day of the Sea.

``Korea has the potential to become a major hub for marine businesses, with its jurisdictional waters encompassing four times its land area and coastlines extending 12,000 kilometers,¡¯¡¯ Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Oh Keo-don said.

``Korea designated the Day of the Sea 10 years ago in an effort to develop the marine industries. This is an opportunity for the people from all walks of life and of all ages to think about the future of Korea¡¯s fisheries industry.¡¯¡¯

Korea¡¯s marine industries have made splendid growth in recent years thanks to growing logistics demands in Northeast Asia.

Korea has become one of the top 10 countries in the marine business, which encompasses shipping, port, fisheries and shipbuilding industries. It recorded 590 million tons of sea borne cargo handling 9.76 million gross tons of shipbuilding orders, and 2.9 million tons of fisheries production last year.

As the marine business expands, Korea has focused on becoming a leading marine power by giving priority to its marine policy and promoting the competitiveness of its marine industry.

To that end, the ministry has elaborated a new vision and strategy to make Korea a launching pad for becoming one of the major maritime nations of the world. The initiative focuses on globalization and knowledge and information-based management, with which it aims to proactively respond to the changes in the marine and fisheries environments.

Marking the 10th Day of the Sea, the government has prepared various events to increase public participation in seeking ways of developing the marine industry.

The ministry has joined forces with Korea Fishing Port Association (KFPA) to produce a map containing a wide range of information about the 100 most beautiful ports in the country. The map will be distributed for free to participants of ceremonies marking the Marine Day held in Ulsan.

For more information about the map, visit the KFPA¡¯s homepage at www.fipa.or.kr, or call the KFPA at 3673-2851.

Pusan City will hold a seminar at City Hall tomorrow to seek ways of developing Pusan Port into a top logistics hub in Asia. To upgrade harbor facilities, the government plans to spend millions of dollars over the next few years and develop surrounding areas into major tourist attractions.

Ministry officials said scores of civic representatives, journalists and government officials will participate in the seminar and tour the port by ship.

Around Pusan, the largest port city in South Korea, various cultural events and ceremonies will be held to mark the Day of the Sea, the officials said.

World Expo in Sight

Yosu (Yeosu) City in South Cholla Province, located on the southern coast of South Korea, plans to launch a bid in 2007 to host the 2012 World Expo, following its unsuccessful bid for the 2010 Expo in 2002.

As the marine bio-industry has enormous potential, countries throughout the world have engaged themselves in research and development of marine lives.

Korea also plans to increase its investment in the development of new marine material by 2010 for improving fishery species to ensure stability, advancing marine environment bio-technology and establishing basic core technology and infrastructure through expansion of R&D activities led jointly by the industry, academia and research institutes.

In making these projects successful and promoting Korea¡¯s marine capabilities in the world, hosting the World Expo is crucial, according to ministry officials.

The plan, proposed by the ministry, was adopted as a national task last year by the presidential office of Chong Wa Dae.

According to the proposal, the expansion of the infrastructure to host an international event, including accommodation and transportation facilities, will be given priority, as this was regarded Yosu¡¯s weakest point in the competition for the 2010 Expo with final winner Shanghai.

In 2002 Yosu lost to Shanghai 34-54 in the final vote for the 2010 World Expo venue at a general meeting of the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE).

According to he ministry, the government decided to provide 1.1 billion won to support its bid for the 2012 World Expo. The money will be used to prepare bids for the worldwide event and to strengthen advertising and the organizational committee. A large potion will be spent in setting up infrastructure, including the establishment of Yosu Airport, which is regarded as essential for holding an international event.

``Based on the experience of a bid for the 2010 Expo, Yosu City will have a jumpstart in its bid compared with other candidates for the 2012 World Expo and can build up the infrastructure required for the event before the inspection in 2008,¡¯¡¯ Minister Oh said.

Candidate cities for the 2012 World Expo have to apply to BIE from May 2007 and the BIE will choose the final candidate at a general meeting in December 2008 based on site inspections.

The ministry said that around five nations, including South Korea, Poland, Iran and Mexico, are expected to vie to host the event.

If the bid is successful, the 2012 World Expo in Yosu is likely to cost about 1.38 trillion won, while about 1.5 million visitors from abroad are expected to visit the nation, according to the government.