▲ The China-Korea-Japan Summit in Beijing, China, in Oct. 2009. Photo courtesy Cheongwadae
For months it has been suspected that Jeju would host the upcoming third annual Korea- Japan-China Summit, although the date and location were not confirmed. On May 16, it was officially announced that the Jeju International Convention Center will house the summit May 29 thru 30.
During the short conference, a signing ceremony between South Korean President Lee Myung Bak, Chinese Premier Wen Jia Bao and Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio will establish a trilateral coordinating office to aid in implementing agreements and general cooperation between the countries. The summit will also include the burying of a time capsule and a press conference, said ICC manager Oh Yu Kyung. The topics of discussion have not been officially released to the public, but it is believed that the of the Cheonan corvette by a North Korea torpedo will be of high priority.
It is expected that more than 1,000 people will participate in the summit. Among heads of state from Korea, Japan and China, businessmen, children and local citizens will attend. Seventy percent of the participants are expected to be from abroad, 29 percent from Japan and 41 percent from China, said Seok. Though there is currently no official number of how many media professionals will be present, Oh said that during the Korea-ASEAN Summit, held in June of ’09 at the ICC, 631 reporters were in attendance and he expects roughly the same for the trilateral talks.
With the event promising to attract a large media presence, the Jeju government hopes to use the island’s exposure to increase its global brand awareness. Han Moom Seok, of the public office of Jeju Province said the “Jeju Province expects that Jeju will be able to increase its brand value through publicity by a minimum of 720 billion won,” due to the conference.
▲ Above, from left, Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and the late Korean President Roh Moo-hyun on Jeju in 2004; Jiang Zemin, former president of the People's Republic of China, visiting The Spirited Garden in 1995; former U.S. and Korean presidents, Bill Clinton and Kim Young Sam, on Jeju in 1996; former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev addressing the audience at a function on Jeju in 1991. Photos courtesy Jeju Special Self-Governing Province
In efforts to promote the summit, and therefore the island, Seok said that they have been “busy preparing the environment to welcome the attendees of the Korea-Japan-China Summit.” The preparations include lining the street from the Jeju International Airport to the ICC with the attending countries’ flags. The provincial government also plans to install seven welcoming arches over the street and eight promotional towers at intersections along the route. Public relation booths will be set up at the event halls and participating hotels as well as a special publication of “Dynamic Jeju” published in English, Chinese and Japanese, Seok said.
This is a “golden opportunity, “he said, for Jeju to corner the Asian tourist market as the United Nations World Tourism Organization ranked Japan and China as the second and fourth for having the most citizens who travel abroad. Oh believes that this is a “perfect opportunity” to transform Jeju into a truly international city.
Oh said that the ICC and Jeju Island were chosen to host the event due to the success of the Korean-ASEAN Summit. Seok said that the Korean-ASEAN summit was seen as a “test” in which Jeju proved itself capable of accommodating the Korea-Japan-China Summit. Both Oh and Seok said that the central government and President Lee supported Jeju and the ICC in its bid to host the event to further develop Jeju as an international city. “Jeju is suitable for holding the summit because of its experience and safety,” Oh said.
The previous summits were held in Fukuoka, Japan in 2008 and in Beijing, China, in 2009.
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