When asked in an interview about the 2018 Winter Olympic campaign for PyeongChang, the newly- elected Governor of Gangwon-do, Choi Moon-soon did not hesitate to say, "Hosting the Winter Olympics at PyeongChang in 2018 is not only our national agenda, but a long-awaited wish for Gangwon-do. We want to guarantee our winning for the bid at Durban, South Africa, on July 6th by putting all of our efforts into it while keeping promises to IOC and the International sports community." He added, "Inasmuch as this is the third consecutive bid, we will live up to people's expectation by hosting it. And once again I do appreciate the overwhelming support, and I hope that they would not fizzle out before the end. "
Last Wednesday in Lausanne, Switzerland, a number of well-known personalities headed by figure skating champion Kim Yun-na were busy in assuming their unusual role, rather formerly, at the Olympic museum. In a technical briefing, they were throwing a convincing sales pitch to make their first, but last case under the banner of 'New Horizons' before the International Olympic Committee members, and were successfully completed a 45-minute presentation and Q&A session with IOC members. Meanwhile, the showroom was installed to emphasize the city's edgy advantages.
The Governor thinks that a few factors like compact disposition of the Olympic facilities, full support from the Government and people in Gangwon-do, and also President Lee's promise to prioritize it as the number one agenda has produced a positive result. And he backed up the campaign by sharing favorable ideas with a few IOC members in person. He says, "Hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics at PyeongChang is now rather a national interest than only for the province itself. In a word, I can say that the Government is responsible in a way. This is why its budget and manpower management is bordering on the Government's overall scope of duty, though the PyeongChang bid committee is a mix of business people and some Government officials. It is wrong to think that either Gangwon-do or the Government alone must shoulder this, we all must come together in order to make it come into fruition."
One cannot dismiss his remarks as just a mere rhetoric considering all the past preparations that have been steadily done at PyeongChang. According to him, PyeongChang since 2003 has been stocking up with its Olympic infrastructure such as the bob sleigh start training center which was completed last year and the Alpensia Ski Jump Tower in September of 2009. Out of all 13 structures, seven of them are ready at any time. Basic designs are in place for the other six structures which can be available when the time comes. The IOC Headquarter Hotel and Media Village in Alpensia are already in full swing. This past February, they were able to get good marks from the on-site evaluation team.
Within a 30-minute commute distance are the main stadium Alpensia to the Joongbon area in Jeongseon, Phoenix Park in PyeongChang where the ski games are to take place, and KangLung for the skating competition. Especially, the construction for the bullet train and the second YongDong express highway are scheduled to be finished soon, and this will eventually improve its accessibility by connecting WonJu with KangLung.
Many different international winter games, such as skiing, snowboarding, ski-jumping, biathlon etc., have been held 55 times successfully. And PyeongChang accumulated lots of operational experiences as a result.
Apart from the Olympic, Gangwon-do is suffering from multiple issues. The construction budget proposal for both the double-track train for WonJu - KangLung line and the high-speed train for SokCho - ChunCheon line was not approved at Parliament due to its hasty decision. This year, he wants to pay more attention to the budget plan. He thinks that Gangwan-do is politically weak as it has been financially underfed, so he will strive hard to raise a political voice to get what it deserves.
As a part of Alpensia's Winter Olympic campaign, luxurious villas were constructed nearby. But they were left empty, which has been creating a big deficit. Now he is measuring up this situation to sell those properties fast, because they could be turning into a negative aspect for the Winter Olympic campaign.
Taking on regional issues, the YoungDong area is going through economic difficulties. In particular, the business community at Gosung has been devastated since the KumGang mountain trip came to a halt. For this unfortunate situation, he plans to visit there personally to investigate its damage. And since it is a matter of South- North, he knows, all is up to the Government. This is why he thinks that accurate information surrounding the affected areas should be reported to President Lee, therefore re-opening the trip would be considered.
Finally, we asked him about his philosophic approach as the Governor for Gangwan-do. "I often come to think of something which is not so much philosophy as just a thought 'a society where people can be treated with respect '. These days, our lives are trouble-ridden. The people in Gangwan-do are also facing many issues. Even, a traditional market place is becoming empty. And it is important to revitalize this economic climate and create more jobs. Also, I think we must share benefits that we all have achieved together. If we are the center of this world, naturally, we should deserve happiness and respect. Gangwan-do is to help by supporting the lives of common people who are working across our nation. During my tenure, I will give birth to such a trend and find a basis for it without any political motive. "