South Korean Netizens React to Busan’s Final Presentation for the World Expo 2030

2030 world expo busan
Credit: Yonhap News

Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh was chosen Tuesday to host the 2030 World Expo following its bid at the 173rd General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions.

Members of the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions selected Saudi Arabia’s center as the host for the 2030 World Expo with a majority of 119 out of 165 votes during a private meeting held in the suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux.

Regarding Busan not being chosen as the host for the 2030 Expo, the South Korean presidential office noted, “Despite combined efforts from the public and private sectors, the outcome didn’t align with the optimistic expectations we had set.”

As South Korea competed to host the 2030 World Expo, their presentation featured key political and industry figures like Prime Minister Han Duck Soo, Busan Mayor Park Hyung Joon and the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Choi Tae Won. Global figures, including former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and Busan Expo promotional ambassador Na Seung Yeon also took the stage. Notably, famous Korean celebrities like Squid Game star Lee Jung Jae and singer PSY played a big role in the final presentation.

However, criticism has emerged regarding the final presentation video produced by the Busan Expo Organizing Committee. Lasting about 20 minutes, the presentation concluded with a 33-second video that received online backlash for being poorly executed and lacking in substance.

The video showcased K-pop sensations like PSY performing his mega-hit “Gangnam Style,” former TVXQ member Kim Junsu and more saying the slogan “Your Choice.” However, online critics found it “embarrassing” due to its low production quality, lack of content, and the outdated use of PSY’s “Gangnam Style,” released back in 2012.

Criticism has intensified due to the choice of “Gangnam Style” as the background music, considering its age and the evolution of K-pop over the past decade. Many argue that the use of this particular song does not align with the image needed for an international event like the World Expo.

Citizens have expressed their disappointment, with comments such as “Is the expo taking place in Gangnam?” and “Even a presentation by college students would have been better.” Some even raised concerns about the event’s appropriateness and questioned the allocation of public funds.

Take a look at what some of the South Korean viewers thought of the presentation video.

“Busan’s been talking about hosting the Expo for ages, and then we get this final presentation. If that’s the government’s A-game, sign me up for a Nobel Prize already.”

“In the final presentation video for the Busan Expo, it seems like they’re only showcasing celebrities they can capitalize on, and there’s hardly any depiction of the actual ‘Busan.’ So embarrassing… Our video doesn’t measure up to Saudi’s video.”

“It’s quite something that in Busan’s attempt to host the Expo, they randomly throw in ‘Gangnam’ Style in the presentation… Seems like they didn’t give it much thought.”

“What really got us scratching our heads is saying we “almost caught up” when we only snagged 29 out of 165 votes in the first round. And the final presentation was like a non-stop K-pop party. Sure, we all worked hard despite the lack of resources compared to Riyadh, but maybe it’s time for some serious reflection on why we fell short.”

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