▲ Chung Un-Chan, Chairman of the National Committee for Promotion of Jeju to Win the New7 Wonders of Nature. Photo courtesy Jeju Special Self-Governing Province
Dear Readers: I am Chung Un-Chan, chairman of the National Committee for the Promotion of Jeju to Win the New7 Wonders of Nature Award. Jeju Island is now honored as one of the 28 finalists for the selection of the world’s New7Wonders of Nature, organized by the New7Wonders Foundation, a Swiss-based, government-controlled foundation.
To make Jeju one of the winners is much more than just to extoll the glories of Jeju. It is the way to promote Korea’s status and strengthen the nation’s brand power. It is not like winning and hosting a one-time sport event. Winning the selection will be a crown jewel for the national glory of Korea. It will be an asset that will be handed down from generation to generation.
In October 2007, Seoul was appointed the 2010 World Design Capital (WDC) in the biennial global competition. It was selected by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID). A study revealed that the brand value from the title itself is worth up to 900 billion Korean won.
In comparison, if Jeju is selected one of the New7Wonders of Nature, the figures from the brand value and economic spillover will be sensational and beyond comprehension, even by my calculation as an economist. As the chairman of the committee, I am confident that Jeju, because of its superior strengths, will be one of the final winners.
First of all, Jeju’s strength is officially certified by the United Nations for its blessed environmental resources. It achieved the triple crowns of UNESCO in the nature and science field: the designation of the Biosphere Reserve in 2002, inscription to the Word Natural Heritage sites in 2007, and the designation as a World Geopark in 2010.
Jeju is the only candidate of the 28 finalists where people, nature, and prehistoric heritage are harmoniously combined in a single location. Even more, Korea’s Jeju Island, is the only place included in the finalists among Korea, China, and Japan.
China’s seven contenders, including Yangtze River and Zhangjiajie, K2 (jointly applied between China and Pakistan), Japan’s Mt. Fuji and Yakushima Island World Natural Heritage site (designated in 1993), and North Korea’s mountains Baekdu and Kumgangsan all failed to be selected in the initial vote. That is why just being a candidate for the final round is a very honorable event.
Secondly, I have a strong trust in Korean citizens at home and abroad. In a very short time, Korea, only a few decades removed from being an economically poor and under-developed country, has come to rank among advanced countries. It is the strong and passionate spirit of sacrifice of the Korean people that made this possible. This spirit, coupled with the flaring heat of our citizens, as seen in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, ensures me that success will be ours without fail.
As a young lad I was taught to call Korea “a land of picturesque rivers and mountains,” but the devastated scenery was far from this. Sometime in the 1980s I happened to visit an elementary school friend living on Jeju Island. It was the first time that I truly felt the meaning of the expression, “a land of picturesque rivers and mountains.” The magnificent sight of Seogwipo Port was superior to those of the so called world’s three beautiful ports, Australia’s Sydney, Italy’s Napoli, and Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro. Seogwipo Port genuinely deserves the world’s No. 1 title.
These are just a few of the reasons that Jeju Island, surely, deserves to be selected one of the New7Wonders of Nature. I am confident that Jeju will be a winner.
There are only 300 days left before voting is closed. As the chairman of the committee I will do my best to work on international affairs and try to get support from the government and global corporations so as to let the world know of Jeju’s beauty.
To all Korean citizens at home and abroad, I cordially ask for your active participation in the telephone and the Internet voting. I ask also for the sincere support of people from all over the world.
Thank you, and I wish happiness and good health for you and your families.
Chung Un-Chan, Chairman The National Committee for Promotion of Jeju to Win the New7 Wonders of Nature
(Translation by Suh Eun Sook)
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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