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Harbin Launches ROK Week to Bring in Close Neighbors

This northern city is already on the way to becoming an international metropolis, but the sudden arrival of some 500 South Koreans is still a spectacle to see.

This capital city of Heilongjiang Province kicked off its first "2005 Harbin ROK Week" yesterday.

The event will feature activities such as a Korean commodity exhibition, trade and economic exchange, investment promotion and some cultural and sports exchanges.

Delegations from the ROK's (Republic of Korea) political, business and cultural circles, along with about 100 ROK-funded businesses in China, will also attend.

"China's strategy to revitalize its old northeastern industrial bases provides us with more business opportunities in this part of China," said Oh Gab-riel, head of the ROK Consulate-General in Shenyang, who organized the ROK Week in Shenyang in May.

"We hope to enhance trade and economic relationships between China and the ROK by continuing to improve our friendships."

As Heilongjiang Province's economic center, one of the most important agricultural provinces in China, Harbin can co-operate with the ROK in respects such as agriculture, timber, the medical industry and car production, he said.

"Harbin is a household name for Koreans, and is mentioned in the textbooks there," said Seok Tae- jin, from the ROK. "Most people from the ROK wanted to have a look at it.

"So Harbin already has a very good foundation on which to do business with the ROK."

Many local people also showed interest in the event.

"I am very glad to have this opportunity to learn more about ROK," said taxi driver Lu Qingguang.

"We hope to let more and more Chinese people know more about our country through our activities," said Hong Gun-peo, mayor of ROK's Puchon City, one of the sister cities of Harbin.

Led by Hong, a delegation of some 40 members will join the event.

He said he would bring more people to Harbin next year if the "ROK Week" becomes an annual event.

Kim Heungs-soo, secretary-general of the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Harbin, said he hopes the two sides would make some progress through ever-increasing economic co-operation and frequent folk cultural exchanges like this.

(China Daily July 5, 2005)


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