I am in my car to go to Incheon International Airport for an official visit to Beijing together with other members of the delegation on a two-night-three-day itinerary. Originally, the itinerary included visits to Shanghai and Shandong Province, but the whole schedule was changed considering the heightened tension between the two Koreas. The news of an earthquake in Sichuan Province dismayed me.
Since the establishment of sisterhood relations in 1993, Seoul Metropolitan Government and Beijing have made brisk exchanges in diverse sectors including administration, culture, transportation, and urban planning. The purpose of my visit to Beijing this time is to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the bilateral relationship and look for ways to prepare for the next 20 years. Whereas the exchanges for the past two decades focused on the enhancement of mutual understanding, my visit to Beijing this time is intended to lay the groundwork for mutual cooperation that residents in both cities can feel themselves.
Today, I will meet Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun in his office and sign an MOU on strengthening friendly relations and stepping up exchanges and collaboration between the two cities. In the evening, we will attend a classical music performance of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Chung Myung-whun at the Chinese State Theater. At the performance, Korean composer Chin Unsuk and Chinese sheng soloist Wu Wei will work together, symbolizing the friendship between the two countries. The performance is expected to serve as an opportunity to introduce the presence of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra to China, the largest market of classical music in Asia. Korean B Boys will perform, with an exhibit of Seoul photos to be put up in Live Tank close to 798 Art District to present an opportunity to experience Korean culture.
On the second day of the visit to Beijing, we will hold explanatory sessions for investors interested in South Korea. Our activities will focus on the attraction of Chinese capital to the tourism and leisure sectors (i.e., construction of hotels and convention centers), bio and information technology businesses, and Korea-China joint ventures through the provision of information on investment environment and ongoing projects. On the last day, we will attend a seminar titled Future of Seoul Metropolitan Government and Beijing co-hosted by the Seoul Institute, Tsinghua University, and Beijing Municipal Institute of City Planning & Design to discuss the prospects of cooperation between Seoul Metropolitan Government and Beijing and sustainable urban strategies of the two cities.
The 20 year-long exchanges between the two sister cities are a very important asset. We will step up ways of exchanges and cooperation with Beijing based on mutual understanding of culture and economy. We will also consider this visit to Beijing a turning point for reinforcing diplomacy toward many cities all over the world.