President Yoon Suk Yeol on Wednesday reiterated his push for Busan's infrastructure development in his visit to South Korea's second-most-populous city, in an apparent attempt to appease Busan residents' sentiment after the port city's failed bid to host the 2030 World Expo.
Yoon told some 100 Busan residents that he would work to open a new international airport on the small islet of Gadeokdo near Busan's ports, relocate the state-run Korea Development Bank's headquarters from Seoul to Busan and redevelop the current North Port site -- all as promised during the city's failed campaign to host the World Expo.
Accompanying Yoon on his visit were Samsung Electronics Executive Chairman Lee Jae-yong, LG Chairman Koo Kwang-mo, Hyosung Group Chairman Cho Hyun-joon, Hanwha Group Vice Chairman Kim Dong-kwan and SK Group Executive Vice Chairman Chey Jae-won.
"At the time of the Korean War, Busan served as a city inclusive of the Korean War refugees," said Yoon in a meeting with residents. "Rising from the ashes of the Korean War, Busan has played the role of a core city dedicated to an industrial breakthrough."
He expressed his gratitude for the people of Busan's enthusiasm to host the lucrative event, in which the city anticipated 61 trillion won ($46.5 billion) in potential revenue through the six-month run of the event.
Yoon also hinted at the National Assembly's effort to introduce a new special bill to facilitate Busan's transformation into a global hub.
"Turning Busan into a new growth pole is the most important task for the nation's rebalancing of national growth," Yoon said.
The event was also attended by outgoing Cabinet members as they prepare for potential candidacy ahead of the general election in April next year, such as Land Minister Won Hee-ryong, Oceans Minister Cho Seung-hwan, Startups and SMEs Minister Lee Young, alongside Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon.
Won pledged to improve traffic flow in Busan, opening the doors of the North Port to the public, while Oceans Minister Cho vowed to turn Busan's new seaport in the western part into a global logistics cluster.