[INTERVIEW] ‘English will be widely spoken in Busan’

Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon, left, takes a selfie with Busan Port Authority President Kang Jun-seok during the opening ceremony of the 15th Busan Port Festival on July 2. Courtesy of Busan Metropolitan Government

Mayor’s educational vision extends to attracting foreign talent, companies

By Ko Dong-hwan

Busan – A port city in the southeast with a population of over 3.3 million, Busan is a popular destination for foreign tourists. Beaches, food, and nightlife have captivated people around the world traveling by land and sea. However, arrivals and visitors alone were not enough to maintain the second largest city in a country that is actively seeking foreign capital and talent.

With all the infrastructure for an ideal work and vacation lifestyle and a warm, refreshing climate, Busan still seems to be lacking. Mayor Park Hong-jun, who won the local elections on June 1, concluded that English was not publicly used by the city’s residents. As more and more residents become fluent in the language, the city will not only attract foreigners but will also improve the education level of its students, the mayor said. Therefore, a 62-year-old former journalist, educator, and politician promised to unify the language as the city’s second official language during the campaign.

“In order for Busan to become a hub in the world, there should be no inconvenience in using English here,” said Park, a candidate for the ruling People’s Power Party (PPP) in the Mayor’s election last June. I told the Korea Times. “In order for international talent to come to Busan, children’s education must be an international standard.”

His vision is already becoming a reality.

2024 An international school in the United Kingdom that opens in 1942. Park, a former Secretary of State for President Lee Myung-bak, said the central government would change existing regulations to open a school for foreigners in the city from 2009 to 2010. He said he had to do it.

We need to support English-speaking people in all aspects of the city, from private and civil servants to volunteers and government information created for the general public. To do that, the mayor said it was very easy-starting public English education at an early age.

“Within 10, 20, or 30 years, these kids will be fluent in the language,” Park said.

Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon, right, and Shift President Lee Hyun-sae, pose after signing an MOU on May 3 to host Junction Asia 2022 in Busan in August. Shift is the Seoul-based operator of Junction. Courtesy of Busan Metropolitan Government


Busan attracts foreign talent through major international events. One of them is G-STAR, an annual game contest and fair that has been held since 2005. The city considered it a fundamental hub for the city’s gaming industry and signed a contract with the DigiPen Institute of Technology in Washington in April this year. Takeyama. The concert held at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (BEXCO) in May this year to orchestrate the music of the world-famous computer game League of Legends also attracted thousands of fans and became a mecca for gamers.

Mayor expects hundreds of people to gather at Junction Asia 2022 in Busan, a hackathon hosted by Junction, Europe’s largest hackathon organizer, next August. Participate in workshops on hackathon problem solving, team building and networking among participants, ideas and development, and mentoring sessions on startup and execution.
“We have focused on innovative financing and support for start-ups where creativity plays an important role,” Park said. “I think events like Junction Asia will be a big stimulus for that direction.”

Busan is on par with Seoul

In 2004, it won the constituency of Busan, which represents the Grand National Party, the predecessor of PPP, and politics. When he gets home, Park is not afraid to speak out to Seoul and its surrounding areas (including Incheon and Gyeonggi Province). state. Collectively referred to as the “metropolitan area,” this country is at the heart of the centrifugal force of a country where everything from business to culture, employment, and foreign investment is concentrated. A former professor at the Graduate School of International Studies, at the University of East Asia in Busan, asserts that the country will not survive in the future if South Korea’s dependence on the metropolitan area continues.

His view is shared by many, and its realization-a special merger in Busan, Ulsan, and the southeastern part of Gyeongsangnam-do-is taking the first step towards a new future from January next year. The new megacity, co-founded by the local government, focuses on the execution of 70 pre-planned projects and is worth a total of 35 trillion won (the US $ 26.7 billion). This includes building new public transport routes and transportation networks for the logistics industry to ensure that all locations in the region are accessible in less than an hour.

Busan Harbor Bridge shines in the city’s nightscape this year. Courtesy of Busan Metropolitan Government


“There is concern that some of the unified Busan area, such as the western part of Gyeongsang Province, will not be able to benefit from the big cities, and that Ulsan and Gyeongsang Province will be drawn into a relatively large Busan area in the process of unification. “But we believe that working together on these projects can address these concerns. Our three local governments are beneficial to all of us, rather than competing or fighting each other. I just agreed to do something. ”

“For Park, the metropolis with a population of about 25 million is already a prestigious international metropolis, but he also warned against the region’s monopoly on most of the country’s business.

” With Japan Compare Germany, France, and the United States. Japan and France depend on the only megacities centered around Tokyo and Paris, respectively. And their GDP hasn’t changed much over the last three decades. But look at Germany. It cannot be executed by a single entity. Each local government has achieved economic improvement through its expertise. This also applies to the United States, which has more than 20 innovative core sectors nationwide. An economy as large as South Korea needs at least two global hubs. If you don’t revitalize the city with perfect business conditions like Busan and leave it as it is, the city will perish.

Park will be the most important trading hub for the city (Busan), which has the 6th largest container port in the world, to further develop and become a country. The development of Zadok Island, south of the city, will help Busan achieve this goal. By relocating the headquarters of the Korea Development Bank from Seoul to Busan, Seoul will have the opportunity to become an international financial center. The mayor is preparing to brand the city as the country’s first blockchain special economic zone and digital asset exchange. Trade will soon continue to be abundant, according to the mayor, who is well-financed.

“Busan was strong in manufacturing and shipbuilding, but it started late with improvements in sectors such as the digital industry and the hydrogen economy.” “The central government is considering establishing a free economic zone around Bukan (the northern port area of ​​the city) where foreign companies can enjoy incentives such as tax exemptions. In addition, a city is a great place for work and leisure. Companies that are currently away from Hong Kong are moving to Singapore or Dubai. I have to get them here. ”


Credit/Source : https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2022/07/281_332790.html

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