South Korea’s Yoon begins foreign tour for 2030 expo bid, Vietnam state visit

June 19, 2023 - 5:35 PM
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South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol waves as he delivers a speech after a South Korea-US joint military drill at Seungjin Fire Training Field in Pocheon, South Korea June 15, 2023. (Jung Yeon-je/Pool via Reuters)

 South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol departed Seoul for Paris on Monday to support his country’s bid to host Expo 2030, part of a foreign trip that will also include meetings with the leaders of France and Vietnam, his office said.

Yoon will address the general assembly of the International Bureau of Expositions (BIE), the organiser of the world fair, to promote South Korea’s bid. The meeting runs from June 20-21.

The southeastern South Korean city of Busan faces competition from Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh, Italy’s Rome and Ukraine’s Odesa for the global event. The host country for the 2030 expo is expected to be decided in November.

Yoon will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday.

The two leaders last met in June 2022 in Madrid on the sidelines of a NATO summit and agreed to expand cooperation in the space and nuclear energy sectors.

Yoon will then head to Vietnam on Thursday for a three-day state visit, accompanied by a 205-person business delegation, his office said.

Yoon, who calls himself “the No. 1 salesman” for South Korea, has made business deals and “sales diplomacy” a core element of his foreign trips since taking office.

“It will be the largest business delegation since the launch of the Yoon Suk Yeol administration,” Choi Sang-mok, senior presidential secretary for economy, said on Tuesday.

—Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi. Editing by Gerry Doyle