Daejeon to Host 60th IAC
Global aeronautics event timed with Korean satellite launch; 3,000 global space technology experts attending
The City of Daejeon has been passing out 10,000 won notes to foreign VIPs visiting the city as mementos. It's not only because the company that prints the nation's paper currency is located in the city, but also because the note has a drawing of ancient space technology, a legacy of the Joseon Dynasty's King Sejong who ordered a study of space while he was on the throne. On the back of the note is a map containing some 1,400 stars and an instrument to observe stars made during the 14th century.
Mayor Park Song-hyo of Daejeon City used to present those notes to foreign visitors he met whenever he was travelling abroad, saying Korea is the only country in the world that has its space technology tradition in its paper currency, and the city took over the tradition from the mayor and began passing out the notes to important foreign guests to the city. The 10,000 won notes will have significant meaning as the 60th IAC (International Aeronautical Congress) is slated to take place in Daejeon in the fall, not only to the city, but to the country as Korea will send a small satellite into space in July at the launching site at Oenaru Island in South Jeolla Province aboard the KSLV-1. Last year, the country had its own astronaut in the person of Lee So-yon aboard a Russian spacecraft.
When the launch of the satellite is successful, the IAC will be turned into a garden of celebration for the opening of the space age in Korea. This year also marks the 40th anniversary since man first landed on the moon and the Year of Astronomy as declared by the UN and, in this sense, the IAC Daejeon event will be marked as an event celebrating the peaceful exploration of space for all global citizens. Following are excerpts of a written interview with Mayor Park Song-hyo of Daejeon:
Question: You visited Washington, leading a Korean investment mission to the United States, and the publicity for the IAC and attracting sponsor companies were important parts of that mission. What were the results of the tour?
Answer: We visited Washington, D.C., a center of various space exploration policies. We held a session to explain the IAC to some 100 attendants including scholars, scientists, diplomats, members of COPUOS (Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space) of the UN, NASA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among others.
We had a serious discussion on continued cooperation between NASA and KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute). We have been able to get the agreement and promise of support from Joseph Song, vice president of Integrated Defense Systems for Boeing, who is of Korean descent, and Paul Eckert, director for Strategic Business Planning for Boeing for the upcoming IAC scheduled for October. We also called on Vice Chairman Eric Thoemmes of Lockheed Martin and got his promise of support for YPP, an expert program for youth, and various other programs. We also invited Chairman Bill Gates of Microsoft to the Daejeon event, as the company has a close relationship with KAIST, and received a positive answer.
Q: What is the IAC and what is the significance of the gathering?
A: The IAC, called an 'Olympics for Space Aviation' has been held every year since 1950, with the utmost authority in the world as far as activities related to space are concerned. With UN support, space organizations and global business firms and experts from over 60 countries, altogether some 3,000 people will participate in the annual event. It has been a 'space business market' where information and technology exchanges for the peaceful use of space take place.
The City of Daejeon and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology will sponsor the event. The 2009 IAC Organizing Committee and the Korea Aviation Space Research Institute will run it with the support of eight government ministries including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which will be the largest international event held in Daejeon since the World Expo of 1993.
Q: What are some of the events scheduled for the IAC?
A: The IAC will be different from those held in the past. Traditional events such as academic meetings, space technology and space aviation exhibitions will be scheduled as basics at the gathering, along with cultural events following the opening ceremony, welcoming dinner, a fun night, a night for international culture and events for young students for science, among others.
A Space Festival will be added especially for the general public at the Southgate Plaza of the Expo Science Park, which is the main venue of the IAC. From Hanbit Tower to Expo Bridge, various creations related to space and the space station will be lined up to tell a story.
There will be five zones where people can meet an astronaut, taste space foods and play at the playground. There will also be various performances including a bubble show, a space science musical and a science hall on space where one can learn about space science. Through the event, the organizers hope to spark greater public attention on space exploration and create dreams and hopes to youth and children of one day becoming astronauts.
Q: Daejeon is the only city where so many scientific technologies have been stored and the IAC is likely to boost the city's image as a capital of science and technologies. What do you have to say on that observation?
A: Daejeon is the Mecca for science and technology in Korea, symbolized by the Daeduck Research and Development Special District. Our country realized the idea to build the Mecca for science and technology 35 years ago when its per capita GDP amounted to only $300. Realizing the dream to be an advanced country in such a short time was owed to the then-government's choices and focus.
The Daeduck complex has now been widely recognized by the world as a place where top-level high-tech research technologies and businesses meet. Located in the special district are 70 research institutes, six universities and over 800 business firms, equipped with global-level high-tech, talented personnel, diversified benefits and support systems.
CDMA, WiBro, DMB, NoLA and others, all part of the IT industry, have been leading the economic growth of our country by producing top-level research results. The complex is the place where BT (bio technology), ET (energy technology), NT (nano technology), ST (space and aviation technology) and CT (cultural technology), all futuristic scientific areas, are assembled, fused and mixed among all science areas there, making the place unique in the world.
The IAC will be an opportunity for building a network for human resources and global space experts and spur exchanges among scientific areas. IT, BT, NT and digital technologies will be tied to space technology, which has a huge effect across all science areas, and will create an environment and atmosphere for advancing into the global space industry market.
Q: Your visit to the United States is said to have produced diverse results. Can you explain?
A: It was an occasion to make progress in bringing the Shinsegye Premium Chelsea Outlet to Daejeon, which has taken about a year to negotiate. We met President Michael Clark of the Chelsea Group in New York and reconfirmed his intention to open an outlet in Daejeon. The CEO said he will pick the site for the outlet as soon as possible, although the investment decision might take some time as the U.S. economy is in poor shape.
We also signed an MOU to build Korea's biggest aquarium in Daejeon with Reynolds Polymer Technology Inc., the top supplier of aquariums in the world, and its subsidiary in Korea, H&G Aquaworld. The projected aquarium, as large as 3,000 tons, will be built on 150,000 square meters of land near Mt. Bomun in Daejeon, up from 800 tons in the initial stages of talks.
In Seattle, we invited some 100 businessmen from around the city and explained the investment conditions including various benefits in Daejeon and have been able to get an agreement from them that something should be done in the area of exchange between the two sister cities now that next year will be the 20th anniversary for the sisterhood tie. A large economic mission is expected to visit Daejeon from Seattle in April next year to confirm investment conditions.
We will test the ties between Daejeon and Seattle and will expand and contribute to the promotion of friendlier relations between Korea and the United States.
The Greater Seattle Trade Development Alliance drew up a provisional schedule for negotiating, surprising us. Daejeon will set up detailed schedules in November to expand the sisterhood relationship with Seattle to wider areas including culture and education, and not limited to economic exchanges. We plan to have a proper central government official to join us to expand the municipal-level relations further to upgrade Korea-U.S. relations.
Q: The Chelsea Premium Outlet and aquarium projects can be considered large achievements as they came amid a serious economic downturn. What expected economic ripple effects will they have when they are successfully launched?
A: The scale of investment in the project will be around $100 million, which is estimated to create some 1,000 jobs and attract 4 million tourists at home and abroad annually to boost the local economy. The Chelsea Outlet will be similar to the first Chelsea Outlet in Yoju, Gyeonggi Province, a name brand goods store in a suburb. The store will handle about 180 name brand goods consisting of 70 percent imports and 5 percent Korean-licensed products.
When the aquarium is opened at Mt. Bomun, the area will be a premium tourism site in not only Korea, but in all of Asia. Flower Land opened on May 1, which is connected to the Daejeon Zoo, the largest zoo south of the Han River through an arch-type bridge, forming the O-World amusement park along with the playground facilities, zoo and flower garden.
The theme park will be the third largest in the country after Seoul Grand Park and Everland and will be linked with O-World and the aquarium. The theme park will be the only one in the world with themes of filial piety and family names. The Mt. Bomun area will be a representative tourist product to the world for Korea.
Q: Can you introduce Daejeon to our readers, especially the core parts of the city's low-carbon green growth policies?
A: Daejeon is the safest city in which to live in all of Korea, a really good place to make your home. The city is also a science town symbolized by the Daeduck Research and Development District, in addition to being an administrative town, with the Daejeon government complex, and also a military town, with high-ranking military brass located there. nw
Daejeon Mayor Park Song-hyo.
An aerial view of the Daeduck Research and Development Special District in Daejeon.
Daejeon Mayor Park, right, talks with President Michael Clark of Chelsea Group with regard to the U.S. premium goods outlet supplier opening one of its Premium Outlets in Daejean while he was in New York last year.
Mayor Park Song-hyo, middle, holds hands with top executives of Reynolds Polymer Technology Inc. and H&G Aquaworld, after signing an MOU to build an aquarium near Mt. Bomum in Daejeon.
Mayor Park Song-hyo delivers his speech at a meeting of Korea Business Council.