Busan's foreign diplomacy continues in earnest
Mayor Park and Hamburg Mayor Tschentscher will see their cities collaborate in various fields including culture, tourism, education, science and research.
Earlier this year, the Port of Hamburg invited Busan to be its partner city during the its 834th-anniversary celebrations. The "Hafengeburtstag" is billed as the largest port festival in the world and took place from May 5 to 7. The annual fair attracts millions of visitors to the Port of Hamburg, located on the river Elbe. As this year's partner city, Busan hosted the Korea-Busan Festival, showcasing Korean art, culture and cuisine. The city also participated in the Busan-Hamburg Green Maritime Conference, which explored the future of sustainable and environmentally-friendly maritime logistics.
The event was a boon to Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon's continued efforts in expanding city diplomacy and promoting Busan's candidacy to host the 2030 World Expo. While in Hamburg, Mayor Park secured key partnerships to develop Busan as a global hub city. First, Mayor Park and Dr. Peter Tschentscher, the First Mayor of Hamburg, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to solidify friendly relations and strategic cooperation between the two port cities.
In addition, Mayor Park secured an MOU between Busan Metropolitan City, the Busan Port Authority and HafenCity Hamburg GmbH, the organization overseeing the revitalization of Hamburg's waterfront districts. This undertaking, known as HafenCity, is similar in scope to Busan's North Port Redevelopment project. The agreement should help both cities realize the transformation of a trade port into a modern and vibrant urban district.
Park with Saara Kuugongelwa, PM of Namibia.
■ List of sister cities grows
Additionally, Park, serving as a special envoy for President Yoon Suk Yeol, visited Tunisia, Namibia and Botswana in Africa from May 8 to 16 to establish strategic and economic partnerships. Park delivered personal letters on behalf of the president inviting the heads of the three African nations to the 2024 Korea-Africa Summit.
As part of its city diplomacy efforts, Busan has signed sister city agreements with Luanda, the capital of Angola, and Mombasa, Kenya. Busan also signed an agreement of friendship and cooperation with Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste.
The foreign diplomacy push is just getting started. On May 18, Park met with high-ranking officials from nine Latin American nations at the Westin Chosun Hotel in Haeundae-gu district. During the summit, leaders discussed cooperation in marine, culture, environment and space industries. Busan also reaffirmed its sister or friendship city relationships with Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Valparaiso, Chile, Panama City, Panama, and Tijuana, Mexico.
Park also confirmed an upcoming diplomatic mission to southwest Asia and a return to Paris at the end of June for the Bureau International des Expositions' 172nd General Assembly.
During the BIE meeting in Paris, the city will make its fourth presentation for its candidacy to host the 2030 World Expo. This crucial presentation is the final opportunity for Busan to state its case to all 179 member states before a host city is elected in November 2023.
Local and central government officials will go all out in this final push to secure the 2030 World Expo.