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[ASEAN-Korea Summit]Foreign Friends Warmly Welcomed to Island of Peace

[ASEAN-Korea Summit]Foreign Friends Warmly Welcomed to Island of Peace

Posted June. 02, 2009 07:36,   


“One graze on the collar passes on karma,” goes the saying. The people of Jeju value every guest arriving at the ASEAN-Korea Summit in 2009, for their visit has been granted by the karma of goodwill.

As Korea’s premier tourist destination, Jeju represents the beauty of the peninsula: Nature, leisure, and peace are all at your disposal. About 6 million tourists visit annually and Jeju is one of Asia’s top 10 convention destinations. Organizations including the American Society of Travel Agents, the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Environment Program have held conferences here, while world leaders ranging from Mikhail Gorbachev to Junichiro Koizumi have visited the island for summits.

Crisscrossed with valleys, honey-combed with caves and topped off with Mt. Halla, an extinct volcano that is the highest mountain in South Korea, Jeju Island is an eco-logical treasure trove. The island has traditionally been famed for “three things never found in Jeju:” There are no thieves, no gates - for we trust our neighbors - and, thanks to our rich agriculture and fisheries, no need for anyone to beg for food. Stone art works and local cuisine - seafood and black pork - are distinct cultural attrac-tions.

Many TV dramas and films beloved in ASEAN nations, such as “The Jewel in the Palace,” have been filmed in Jeju. Scuba diving, horseback riding and fishing beckon the active. Our 26 golf courses are world-class: Tiger Woods and Ernie Els have played here. Eight casinos await you on the island, and our calendar is filled with 25 annual festivals, from the Fire Festival to the Jeju International Music Festival.

But behind this lively culture looms a tragic history. Two years before the Korean War, thousands were killed in an island-wide massacre in 1948. In recognition of this trauma and subsequent reconciliation, Jeju has been designated “The Island of Peace” by the Korean government.

Today, Jeju is a Special Self-Governing Province, working to upgrade tourism, education, medical and business facilities. Foreign businesses are part of Jeju’s future. Malaysia’s Berjaya Group is investing US$1.8 billion in a resort on Jeju.

We hope the summit will bring the citizens of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam closer to us as friends - and hope that Jeju will remain in your memory for the rest of your days.

Kim Tae-hwan Governor, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province