By Special Feature Editor Kim Hyung-dae, Reporter Lee Sam-sun
"Under the theme of 'the World, the Future of Humanity, and Finding in the Forest', the 2023 Gangwon Forestry Exhibition will be held in Goseong, Sokcho, Inje, and Yangyang for a month from Sept. 22 to Oct. 22 this year," said Governor Kim Jin-tae of Gangwon Province. This was disclosed at a recent interview with Kim Jin-tae conducted by The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985.
Governor Kim said, "Forests in Gangwon-do account for 63 percent of the nation's forest area, which is the lungs of Korea, the ecological axis of the Korean Peninsula, and the driving force behind carbon-neutral green growth."
Then he added, “Gangwon-do decided to hold the world's first forest-themed expo to create an international exchange place for the forest environment based on the world's only successful reforestation experience after World War II."
Regarding the 2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics, Governor Kim said, "The 2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics is the only international sports event held during the Yoon Suk-yeol government's term and the first mega event in the name of Gangwon Special Self-Governing Province."
"Gangwon-do is establishing a close cooperation system with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the organizing committee, the host city and county, and the Gangwon-do administrative support headquarters was also formed to prepare thoroughly."
The following are excerpts from an interview with Governor Kim Jin-tae of Gangwon Province:
Question: Gangwon Special Self-Governing Province will be launched in June. What is the meaning of the launch, the leap forward of the future industry global city, and the economic effect?
Answer: Gangwon Province will be transformed into Gangwon Special Self-Governing Province for the first time in 628 years. I think it's not just a change in the name, but a change in the times.
The era in which the central government controls and regulates everything is over, and the era in which local government (Gangwon Province) carves out its own destiny begins.
It contains the will to achieve strong decentralization of autonomy like the states of the United States.
The key is regulatory reform. It has been difficult for companies and their factories to enter into Gangwon-do due to many regulations.
It is said that the total area of regulation in Gangwon-do is 1.3 times the total area of Gangwon-do. We hope to boldly lift such regulations.
In addition, Gangwon-do may take the lead in conducting regulatory reform experiments that are difficult to implement nationwide right now.
With that spirit, the vision of Gangwon Special Self-Governing Province was set as the "Global City for Future Industry."
By lifting regulations, we will grow future high-tech industries such as semiconductors, biohealth, hydrogen energy, and smart agriculture in Gangwon-do.
Therefore, I expect that many companies will enter Gangwon-do, many jobs will be created, and many people will come in.
Q: What kind of expo will be held in September, and what countries and sizes will be participating?
A: Recently, the importance of carbon absorption forests has been increasingly highlighted for carbon neutrality to address global warming and climate change.
Gangwon-do's forests account for 63% of the nation's forest area, which is the lungs of Korea, the ecological axis of the Korean Peninsula, and the driving force for carbon-neutral green growth.
Gangwon Province decided to hold the world's first forest-themed expo to create an international exchange place for the forest environment based on the world's only successful forest reforestation experience after World War II.
Under the theme of 'the World, the Future of Humanity, and Finding in the Forest', the 2023 Gangwon Forestry Exhibition will be held in Goseong, Sokcho, Inje, and Yangyang for a month from Sept. 22 to Oct. 22 this year.
The main event site is the World Jamboree Training Center in Goseong.
First of all, we invited 20 foreign local governments interacting with Goseong-gun County and Sokcho City to the event and are waiting for a reply.
We will also hold an academic event organized by the Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (APOCO) during the event, and is also discussing inviting 15 countries.
Nine countries that participated in the overseas training course for developing countries promoted by the Gangwon-do International Urban Training Center (IUTC) are planning to tour the Forestry Exhibition.
We will prepare for the competition carefully so that they can see everything about the forest.
The 2023 Gangwon World Forest Expo will be held, which combines the history, culture, life, and ecology of forests, which account for 63% of Korea and 81.2% of Gangwon-do.
After the Winter Olympics, we will create a "new future growth engine for Gangwon development" in the forest.
Q: What is the successful task of the 2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics?
A: The 2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics is the only international sports event held during the Yoon Suk-yeol government's term and the first mega event in the name of Gangwon Special Self-Governing Province.
Gangwon-do is establishing a close cooperation system with the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, the competition organizing committee, and the city and county for the event to ensure the success of the global event.
The Gangwon-do Administrative Support Headquarters has also been formed to prepare thoroughly administratively.
All repair and reinforcement work of the stadium will be completed by October this year, and we will conduct intensive promotion activities through major instruments such as torch relay and the G-100 days event through various media.
The launch of Gangwon Special Self-Governing Province, which is one of the three big events in Gangwon-do, is planned and promoted in connection with the Gangwon World Forest Expo.
We plan to provide meticulous support outside the stadium, including volunteer work, interpretation, accommodation, firefighting, emergency medical care, transportation for athletes and visitors.
Gangwon Province has the potential to successfully host the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. We will prepare well for the next year.
Q: The new government office building was decided to be Goeun-ri, Dongnae-myeon, Chuncheon City, what is the background of the location selection and the size of the building?
A: We focused on the accessibility of the provincial government in 18 cities and counties in Gangwon-do, the future expanmdability of Chuncheon, and procedural transparency based on the objective evaluation of the site selection committee.
In December last year, the site selection committee of the new building selected and announced the site as a member of Goeun-ri, Dongnae-myeon.
In order to maximize the strength of the Dongnae-myeon area, we announced a plan to create a 1 million square-meter administrative complex town in consultation with Chuncheon-si.
The first stage is to create a 100,000㎡ Gangwon Special Self-Governing Province and a new provincial council building by 2028.
In the second stage, we are planning to attract various public institutions within the 300,000㎡ site.
We are also planning to create a 600,000㎡ commercial business district and media town like Sangam-dong Digital Media City.
In order to maximize the accessibility of the administrative complex town, the government will also push for the establishment of an alternative bypass road.
As it is a big project to move the provincial government in 27 years, we will not only move the provincial government, but also make it a driving force for the development of the entire Gangwon-do Province.
Main contents of the "Detailed location of the new building site":
Gangwon-do Province selected and announced the site of the new government building on December 20 last year at 443 Goeun-ri, Dongnae-myeon, with a size of 100,000㎡.
After that, a plan to create an administrative complex town of 1 million ㎡ in Goeun-ri, including the selected site of the New Government Complex, was announced.
In relation to the creation of an administrative complex town, chronic traffic congestion and deterioration of arterial road function on National Route 5 are expected due to rapid urbanization and increased traffic volume due to various large-scale development projects in the southern part of Chuncheon.
Goeun-ri administrative complex town, Dawon district, Hakgok district, etc.
In order to secure convenience of access between the metropolitan area, the southern area of Gangwon, and the northern area of Gangwon, it is necessary to establish an alternative bypass road.
Accordingly, the province is pushing for the establishment of an alternative bypass road for National Route 5.
Therefore, in connection with the administrative complex town development plan and the road construction plan, the optimal detailed location of the building within the planned administrative complex town site is determined.
Location: 373 Goeun-ri, Dongnae-myeon, Chuncheon (100,000㎡).
Gangwon Province is pushing to change its urban management plan (facilities: public buildings, roads, and transportation squares) for the construction site of the new building.
It has completed the establishment of a decision (change) on the urban management plan, which mainly focuses on determining the site of the new building and installing infrastructure (entry roads, traffic squares).
In the future, Gangwon-do plans to confirm urban planning facilities after listening to residents and Chuncheon City Council's opinions on the urban management plan decision (change) in accordance with related laws and regulations.
Q: The Osaek cable car on Seorak-san Mountain has been approved by the government. What are the environmental problems and prospects for revitalizing tourism after completion?
A: It took 41 years. We welcome it with 1.54 million Gangwon-do residents.
As the road to the installation of Osaek cable cars has been opened, we will gather the will of our Gangwon-do residents and make it well step by step from now on.
Even now, many hikers visit Seorak-san Mountain. If you've been to Seorak-san Mountain, you'll know it well.
Many people are damaging forests by stepping on hiking trails and throwing away trash.
Cable cars reduce damage to these hiking trails and protect forests.
You don't have to worry about the beautiful natural environment of Seorak-san Mountain.
We will take care of the environment first in Gangwon-do.
If the environment of Seorak-san Mountain worsens, Gangwon residents will be the first to lose money.
If the environment of Seoraksan Mountain gets worse, the number of tourists will decrease, but will Gangwon-do residents really want it?
I will show you an eco-friendly luxury cable car that does not damage nature.
Seoraksan Mountain itself is a great tourist destination, and Kwon Geum-seong's cable car also has a surplus every year.
How much better would it be to install a Osaek cable car here?
We will start construction within this year and make it the best tourist attraction in Korea.
Q: What is Gangwon-do's tourism policy in the future?
A: The total number of tourists who visited Gangwon-do last year was 153.45 million, and 12.61 million have already visited Gangwon-do this year alone.
Tourism has shrunk for a while due to COVID-19, but now the era of no masks has come, and we need to revitalize the tourism industry again.
I made three appointments for Gangwon tourism. Kindness, cleanliness, and safety.
And by 2025, it has set up a vision 2025 to create 200 million tourists, 2 million living population, and one of the top 5 tourist belts.
Gangwon-do is a very blessed tourist destination. There are so many places where you can make it the best luxury tourist destination in the world with just a little more ideas and investment.
Such possibilities have already been suggested by places such as the Hantangang River Columnar Joint Road in Cheorwon, the Sancheoneo Ice Festival in Hwacheon, and the Young Dalwai Park in Yeongwol.
East Coast Beach is already a great tourist destination, but it will become more popular if you add various storytelling such as 'BTS Holy Land'.
This should be supported by efforts such as modernizing facilities and improving services at the local government level.
Gangwon Province will provide full support.
Q: What are the plans and prospects for attracting companies and investment?
A: You can see it as 'releasing regulations boldly and fostering high-tech industries'.
As problems arose in the process of promoting some projects in the past, we do not attract companies by distributing illegal and unfair preferential treatment to certain companies.
We will boldly lift regulations, lay the foundation for researching high-tech industries, and provide legitimate incentives so that companies can come in on their own.
We are trying to attract companies by laying the foundation for high-tech industries such as semiconductors, biohealth, smart hydrogen energy, mobility, and smart agriculture in the border area.
In the case of semiconductors, there was also a result of signing an investment attraction agreement with Integris, which is already listed on the U.S. NASDAQ.
In line with the vision of Gangwon Special Self-Governing Province, which is a global city for future industries, we will promote bold industry development step by step.
Q: What is the plan to create jobs and train semiconductor workers?
A: In a word, business is a job. Industry is jobs.
When a company comes in, jobs are created, and people come in.
By the way, education is inseparable from jobs.
We will focus on cultivating global talents who will lead industrial innovation with innovative university education.
Semiconductors are steadily preparing.
On March 15, President Yoon Suk-yeol presided over the "14th Emergency Economic and Civil Life Conference" and announced, "We will establish a semiconductor mega cluster in the metropolitan area."
The plan is to connect southern Gyeonggi Province, including Hwaseong, Pyeongtaek, and Icheon, where semiconductor production complexes are already located, centering on Yongin.
We see this as a new opportunity.
When President Yoon Suk-yeol was elected, he came to Wonju and said, "It would be better if Wonju was tied to the semiconductor cluster in the central region and went together."
Yongin is less than 100km from Wonju.
If you expand the semiconductor cluster in the Seoul metropolitan area a little, you can enter Wonju.