Countdown has begun to host the G20 summit in Seoul next November. Sakong Il, fourth from left, chairman of the Presidential Committee for the G20 Summit; Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan, fifth from left; and Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, seventh from left, clap their hands to mark the opening of the organizing committee office at the Korea Banking Institute in central Seoul, Monday. From left, Vice Finance Minister Hur Kyung-wook; Financial Services Commission Chairman Chin Dong-soo; Public Administration and Security Minister Lee Dal-gon; Sakong; Yu; Oh; Chairman of the President’s Council on National Branding Euh Yoon-dae; Bank of Korea Governor Lee Seong-tae; and Chief of the Office of the Prime Minister Kwon Tae-shin participated in the ceremony to kick off the first preparatory step in hosting the G20 Summit slated for November 2010. / Korea Times
By Jane Han
When G20 leaders meet in Seoul next November, they may be huddling on a brand new island floating on the Han River.
The plan was unveiled by Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, Monday, during a ceremony marking the opening of the G20 organizing committee office, located at the Korea Banking Institute near the presidential office in central Seoul.
The artificial island ― designed to resemble Dubai's Palm Jumeirah ― is part of the Seoul City's Han River Renaissance Project and will be built by next spring close to Banpo Bridge connecting the downtown districts on both sides of the river.
"Hosting the meeting on the island is a possibility, as long as protocol and security issues are taken care of," Oh said, adding that COEX, a popular convention center in southern Seoul, is lacking in facilities to hold a large scale gathering such as the G20 summit.
Seoul was designated as the venue for the G20 summit slated for next November, the first high-profile international meeting South Korea will be hosting after holding the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Busan in 2005.
Organizers are expecting 20 heads of state and some 15 other leading international organizations, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, to gather in Seoul to discuss the timing for implementing exit strategies from global stimulus measures.
Visiting leaders will be accompanied by some 3,500 officials, as well as some 3,000 journalists covering the event, said Sakong Il, the head of the presidential committee coordinating the summit.
"We need to make utmost efforts starting now to ensure that we make a positive impact on improving the global economy," he said.