39th Mayor of Busan Metropolitan City
My Fellow Busan Citizens!
Today, I stand before you as the 8th elected Mayor of Busan Metropolitan City. I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude for your enthusiastic support and trust by giving me an opportunity to serve you once again.
Your wishes were candid and clear when I met you during my campaign in May 2022. Recalling some of those moments now, I remember one of Busan’s traditional shop owners telling me, ‘if we get a new public parking lot, more people would come to my shop’. Another citizen in a wheelchair deplored the many overpasses not accessible by wheelchair, while one of the city’s youths, who runs a small handicraft workshop, said he would just be happy if he can afford a bottle of Soju with grilled pork belly. As well, an elderly citizen asked for more park golf courses, which are very popular nowadays, and a business man asked to extend funds with low-interest rates to businesses. Without a doubt their requests were genuine and truthful coming from concerns faced in everyday life.
I, as the 8th elected Mayor of Busan Metropolitan City, vow to listen to your voices.
Everyday life is paramount.
Communication is essential.
Sympathy is at the core.
The 8th elected administration will listen to citizens more closely, seek out citizen-based solutions, and reciprocate your support.
My fellow Busan Citizens!
I have big dreams for my city of Busan.
I want to build Busan into a global hub city that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Singapore and Hong Kong. I very much believe we can and should pursue greatness.
Yet, this is not just about Busan.
This should be undertaken for the benefit of the whole nation to leap towards a new path.
We cannot survive in competition among developed countries with a Seoul-centered unipolar system.
Developed countries, such as the US, Germany, and Great Britain, have attained their robust development with multiple innovative hub cities rather than with a single hub.
Fostering a hub comprised of a metropolitan bloc across Busan and the southern region of Korea should be
viewed as an overriding task for the entire country, not just a local task.
The past 15 months have been rather quick, however it was enough time to confirm this necessity.
As such, we have begun to tread towards the important first steps of this ambitious task.
We have changed a negative and woeful perspective of our future into one of hope and confidence during the past year.
We have achieved over a 10-fold increase in business and investment compared to before.
Universities have begun to innovate themselves and become new pillars for nurturing the world’s next leaders, along with increasing business-academic cooperation.
The City of Busan is at a crossroads to reshape itself from a place where youths once wished to leave, to a place where youths are eager to come back to.
Busan’s charms as a culture and tourism city are echoing throughout the world.
New innovations are emerging in every corner of the city.
No one will be able to stop this wave of innovation.
Busan’s transformation towards a global hub city has already begun.
The 2030 Busan World EXPO is a symbol of this transformation and will become a catalyst for further growth.
Through ups and downs, the 2030 Busan World EXPO is now backed by the central government and prominent businesses.
The President himself is ardently championing the city’s Expo bid, along with the CEOs of major conglomerates. Even BTS, a symbol of K-Culture has joined the campaign.
Hosting the World Expo is not just about hosting another mega event, but it is part of the process to cement Busan’s status as a global hub city.
Busan will truly become a global hub city when the success of the city’s 5 pillars; logistics, industry, finance, talent, and culture·tourism become globalized. Becoming a global hub city requires multi-faceted and complicated work, including the smartization of Busan Port, the 2nd busiest transhipment port in the world, the early construction of the new airport that will create synergy with the port, strengthening the competitiveness of the special economic block of Busan, Ulsan and Gyeongnam, fostering a digital finance hub, nurturing talent, as well as creating trendy culture and tourism content, among other projects.
as many key projects are being included in the national tasks of the new President’s administration, we have the wind at our backs.
The past year was a time to seek out new hope and the potential for the city to foster a wave of innovation,
now it is time to spread this wave of innovation out into every alleyway and corner of Busan.
And I pledge to make it happen.
I will do my utmost to blossom the flower of innovation in my city, Busan.
My Fellow Busan Citizens!
Happiness is the purpose of life.
The purpose of governance lies in the happiness of every citizen.
It is our dream to create a city where every citizen is happy.
This is why my campaign slogan is ‘Busan, Your Home for Today and Beyond’, with many of you embracing such sentiment. Some even said thank you for awakening their pride in Busan, and many agreed that Busan will be better than anywhere else once Busan soundly and truly transforms.
Along such lines, Busan previously ranked 13th in terms of the happiest cities in Asia.
I want to lift that ranking into the top 10 in four years’ time.
It will be possible when we pool our wisdom and innovate together.
Few metropolitan cities around the world are beautifully laced with beaches, mountains, rivers and the sea.
Freedom, inclusiveness and openness make up the unique spirit of Busan. Such a spirit was on full display when 300,000 Busan citizens embraced 1 million refugees during the Korean War, and is embodied in the role Busan serves as the backbone of industrialization and democratization. Busan is indeed a dynamic city.
During our tumultuous history, the people of Busan forged their identity as warm-hearted and righteous citizens. A caring community and beautiful natural environments are the most important pillars in making ‘Busan, Your Home for Today and Beyond’.
This vision serves as fertile soil for Busan to become a global hub city.
We are living in an era in which people desire to live in cities where they can strike a balance between work and leisure.
Busan happens to be in just the right place. People can enjoy both the convenience of urban life and relax as they do on holidays. We should maximize Busan’s charm as a ‘worcation’ (work and vacation) destination.
The 8th elected city government will put its focus on building a city where anyone can work, live, enjoy and relax.
Together, let’s make Busan one of Asia’s happiest city.
Together, let’s make ‘Busan, Your Home for Today and Beyond’.
Together, let’s make Busan an amazing city.
I have set out a broad overview of the ‘15-minute city’ initiative since I first announced it last year.
The ‘15-minute city’ is a core initiative to foster a city where people want to live in generation after generation. In a ‘15-minute city’, key social services, including health, education, childcare, sports, culture, and transportation are easily accessible within a safe and clean environment.
To realize the ‘15-minute city’, we need to foster a clean environment. In this era, we cannot avoid responding to climate change and building an environmentally sustainable city. To achieve such goals, I will help foster a low carbon green environment with an advanced waste managment system.
We are dreaming of a city in which everybody is respected as a member of the community, regardless of gender, age, and income. In a bid to make this a reality, I will bolster the welfare system.
I will also enhance the accessibility of the health and welfare systems in order to be able to swiftly respond to another pandemic and protect our citizens. I will build a robust safety management system.
Not least, I will put my utmost into improving the housing welfare system, so that youths and young married couples can open up a new chapter of their lives and the elderly can enjoy a stable retirement life.
I will do my best to help citizens enjoy culture in their everyday lives. Citizens will have more opportunities to enjoy cultural activities and experiences. In line with this, dynamic facilities for culture and tourism will be established throughout Busan. As an advanced cultural city, I will also improve public design.
I pledge my full earnest support towards building an opera house and international art center and vow to attract a world-class art center and global IP content cluster. I will transform Busan into a world-class cultural content city.
Sports also play a very important role within communities. As such, I will expand sports facilities so that citizens can easily access and enjoy sporting activities. I will transform Busan into an ‘ideal city for sports’.
My Fellow Busan Citizens!
The future of Busan rests on nurturing the next generation. We need to make people say that if you want to find talent, go find it in Busan. To this end, I will accelerate the nurturing of talent for the digital era. I will collaborate with universities to cultivate such talent that industries are looking for.
I will build an economic free zone in the city and attract international schools and global training institutes. I will build an environment in which Asia’s young talent and start-ups gather, challenge existing business structures and succeed. Ultimately, Busan will be called ‘Asia’s Silicon Valley’, providing the best opportunity to start a business.
Cooperating with the Busan Metropolitan City Office of Education, I will place an emphasis on English and coding for our children. I will build the very first English-friendly city in Korea with an innovative English education system.
Nurturing talent gives breath to the city. Having the right talent in the right place is all the more important. I will make a concerted effort towards creating a city that nurtures such talent.
My Fellow Busan Citizens!
My Fellow Public Officials of Busan!
Being a public servant is meaningful because you can witness your deeds become reality and useful in the lives of citizens.
Serving the public good to bring prosperity to all is a privilege for those who have selected.
We all share the same destiny where the meaning in our lives becomes greater in proportion to what we do for the public good. This is why lazy and domineering attitudes are unacceptable behaviors.
The biggest problem of administrations today is that public servants operate in a box of regulations and cannot catch up with the speed of the digital transformation. It is far too common for governments to hamper the private sector’s competitiveness in the drive to innovative.
In the 8th elected administration, everybody should pool their efforts together to hasten administrative procedures in tandem with the era of innovation. We need to drastically cut out-dated regulations and red tape that hampers us and speed up measures that support innovation. It is time to run rather than walk. When the private sector yearns to run, an administration should also do its best to run alongside it. And when the private sector struggles to walk, we should push it to run once again.
To this end, we need to streamline procedures and eliminate unnecessary regulations in a forward-thinking manner. I’m indeed looking forward to your active role in rethinking current regulations to transform Busan into an innovative city
My Fellow Busan Citizens!
The City of Busan should look towards the immense forest before us, that being the digital transformation and the transformation of the ecosystem. In this vast forest, we need to find the safest and most efficient way to make our path. In this process, we, the citizens of Busan, should move together hand-in-hand. I will serve as a guide on this journey. I will guide us to move not too fast, but not too slow. If there is an obstacle, I will get rid of it. I will do my utmost to unleash your potential and power. I will make yours and my dream come true. I will build Busan into a ‘Global Hub City’ and ‘Top 10 Happiest City in Asia’.
I will embody the spirit of freedom and inclusiveness. I will champion the spirit of innovation. And I will achieve this together with you.
I truly hope you all become key players that will generate waves of future innovation.
In closing, it is my wish to happily live here in my beloved city, ‘Busan, Your Home for Today and Beyond’ together with you for many years to come. Thank you.
July 1, 2022
Mayor of Busan Metropolitan CityPark Heong-joon