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Ceremony for smart city kicks off Asean summit

Nov 25,2019
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Left: Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, shakes hands with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Blue House Saturday. Right: Moon, right, shakes hands with the Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah at the Blue House Sunday. [YONHAP]
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President Moon Jae-in attended the groundbreaking ceremony of a smart city project in Busan on Sunday ahead of the Korea-Asean summit along with the leaders and ministers of Asean countries. From left, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Moon and Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith. [JOINT PRESS CORPS]
BUSAN - President Moon Jae-in and leaders of Asean attended a groundbreaking ceremony for a ubiquitous city project in Busan on Sunday, starting their participation in a special summit between Korea and the regional community.

Marking the 30th anniversary of Korea’s ties with Asean, Moon is scheduled to host the commemorative summit today and tomorrow. The event is considered a diplomatic highlight of the Moon administration, which has promoted the New Southern Policy to broaden Korea’s foreign policy beyond its usual partners of the United States, Japan, China and Russia.

The commemorative summit brings together state heads from nine of the 10 member countries of Asean. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen canceled his participation at the last minute due to a family emergency.

On the eve of the special summit, Moon and Asean leaders attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the “Eco Delta Smart City” in Busan on Sunday. State heads of Vietnam, Thailand and Laos as well as infrastructure ministers and vice ministers of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Malaysia also attended the event, hosted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

A site in Busan was selected last year by the government for its Eco Delta Smart City project. In February this year, Moon said the smart city will specialize in water management and robotics technologies. About 2.2 trillion won ($1.87 billion) will be invested to build a new city to accommodate 3,380 households or 8,500 people.

In his speech at Sunday’s groundbreaking ceremony, Moon explained his vision to cooperate with Asean countries to push forward the smart city initiative to resolve various problems associated with rapid urbanization.

“Korea will take a new approach,” Moon said. “On the foundation of fourth industrial revolution technologies, we will design new future cities that are free from urbanization problems and which will serve as a platform for innovative growth.”

He said the Eco Delta Smart City project in Busan will serve as an example for major cities of Asean countries that are experiencing similar problems of traffic congestion, environmental pollution and other disasters.

“I pay special attention to the potential of Asean in the field of smart cities,” Moon said. “If we build a joint smart city platform on the infrastructures of the Asean countries, it will increase the connectivity of the region and advance mutual prosperity.”

Promising that Korea will share its construction and operation experiences with the Asean cities, Moon proposed to build a cooperative system. He said Korea will cooperate with similar smart city projects in Singapore, Myanmar and Malaysia to open a new future for the industry.

The Blue House said the event is to mark Korea’s ambitions to work with Asean in the lucrative smart city market. In its press release, the Blue House said the region launched the Asean Smart City Network in Singapore in November last year to build 26 smart cities in Asean countries to counter rapid urbanization.

“About $7 trillion in investments are expected to be made in the Asean region by 2035 to upgrade transportation, water, sewage, energy and residential systems,” the Blue House said, adding that Korea is putting efforts to cooperate with the region to win joint projects.

The Blue House said various conferences and technology fairs on smart cities will take place on the sidelines of the Asean summit, and they will open new business opportunities to the Korean firms. “We want to showcase our project by demonstrating advanced solutions,” a senior presidential aide said.

Before heading to Busan, Moon received two guests over the weekend at the Blue House in Seoul. He had a bilateral summit with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday and another summit with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam on Sunday.

During the bilateral summits, Moon also promoted the smart city project to his counterparts, seeking opportunities in Singapore and Brunei for Korea to export its technology.

“Korea has designated Busan, the venue of the special summit, as a model of the smart city project,” Moon told Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee on Saturday. “By the end of 2021, Busan residents will be able to experience actual life in a smart city. Korea and Singapore should share their policies and expertise in the area to jointly enter third countries.”

The two leaders agreed that Korea and Singapore have great potential for cooperation in the smart city sector, as they have related experience and technology, according to Ko Min-jung, presidential spokeswoman.

On Sunday, Moon hosted the Sultan of Brunei. At the summit, the two leaders discussed various issues including their cooperation in the smart city project.

According to Ko, Korea and Brunei signed a memorandum of understanding on smart city cooperation on Sunday.

The Korea-Asean Commemorative Summit will formally open today. Moon and the Asean leaders will attend the CEO Summit and the Culture Innovation Forum in the morning.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]