[EDITORIALS]Expo effort needs our help

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[EDITORIALS]Expo effort needs our help

The competition to host the World Exposition in 2010 is heating up. At a meeting of the Bureau of International Expositions held in Paris on Tuesday, Korea's delegation was hard at work to help draw the expo to Yeosu, South Jeolla province, but they were not alone.

The World Expo could be dubbed "the Olympics for the business world" and a festive venue for sharing ideas about mankind's future. We hosted an expo in Daejeon nearly a decade ago, but it was smaller and not comparable to the comprehensive exposition held every five years. The greater scale puts a lot more at stake, and the competition is aware of this.

We find Korea in an uphill battle, however, with preliminary evaluations showing Moscow and Shanghai ahead of Yeosu. But there is still plenty of time left before the final selection is made at the end of the year. The relatively lower assessment given so far to Yeosu was primarily due to weaknesses in transportation and accommodations, but these are areas that can be improved.

Korea's status in the international community was elevated considerably after the successful hosting of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. And there is a national strategy to turn the west coast region into a hub of Asian business. The exposition will add to that effort and go on to stimulate the economic development of the south coast and contribute to the balanced development of regional economies.

An immediate tangible result of an expo in Yeosu is expected to be 30 million visitors and jobs for 230,000 people, with 17 trillion won in multipliers added to the economy. And hosting the exposition in 2010 will make Korea only the third country after the United States and Japan to have hosted the three major international events: the Olympic games, the World Cup and the World Expo.

The Chinese effort to host the event is in full swing, under a concept to turn Shanghai into the "Manhattan of Asia." Russia's run is equally vigorous, perhaps partly out of desperation to break out of a recession. We should further refine the blueprint for the bid and also step up the campaign on the diplomatic front. Just as important for a winning bid are the attention and interest of the public.
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