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Korea Pavilion for Shanghai Expo breaks ground

2009. 26 May

( Korea yesterday broke ground for an exhibition facility that will introduce the nation's history, culture and future during an international exposition to take place in this Chinese city next year. "The Korea Pavilion will be the largest exhibition space for the country as well as a masterpiece for presenting culture, the history of our cities, state-of-the-art technology and the future of Korea," Knowledge Economy Minister Lee Youn-ho said during the groundbreaking ceremony.

"I hope that Korea and China will expand both economic and cultural exchanges through the Shanghai Expo 2010."

The Korea Pavilion is located in section A, right next to the Japan Pavilion and the Saudi Arabia Pavilion. The three-story building will be constructed on the 6,000-square-meter land. The architecture of the pavilion took its motif from letters forms of Hangeul, the Korean alphabet, officials said.

The pavilion will include a large exhibition space, VIP lounge, restaurant, administrative facilities, a roof garden and promotion spot for Yeosu Expo 2012.

With the four selected themes - culture, humanity, nature and technology - the exhibition space will showcase future cities of Korea. It will also offer visitors chances to experience Korea's future by utilizing its advanced IT technology.

Hallyu star Jang Na-ra was named the publicity ambassador for the Korea Pavilion. Participants at the ceremony included Cho Hwan-eik, president of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency; Oh Young-ho, vice chairman of Korea International Trade Association; and Chung Byung-chul, vice chairman of the Federation of Korean Industries.

The upcoming event, expected to be the largest expo to date, will contribute to promoting trade and investment between the two countries, KOTRA president Cho said.

"The success of the Shanghai Expo will bring a huge benefit to Korea considering geographical proximity between the two countries, trade volume, and Yeosu Expo in 2012," he said.

The pavilion, in particular will help the country remove lingering problem of so-called the "Korea discount," Cho added.

The government will establish a joint group to help companies enter the Chinese market ahead of the 2010 Shanghai Expo. China is Korea's No. 1 export destination.

"Countries around the world have been putting lots of investment into building a national pavilion to enhance its image. Korea will also take the expo as an opportunity to upgrade the country's image as well as expand exports targeting domestic markets in China," a KOTRA official said.

The Korean government plans to spend 29.6 billion won ($23.6 million) for operations at the expo, including construction work for the pavilion. About 6 million tourists are expected to visit the pavilion, officials added.

The World Expo Shanghai 2010 is expected to draw 70 million visitors with more than 230 participating countries. The theme of the exposition will be "Better City, Better Life," and the event is scheduled to take place from May 1-Oct. 31, 2010.

By Cho Chung-un/Korea Herald correspondent