Part II

On Friday, Feb. 25, 2001 1stopKorea had a chance to sit down and talk with Goh Kun, the current Mayor of Seoul, in a wide-ranging interview on life here in the big city. Here's the second part of our interview, focusing on the mayor's first year and a half in office, his best and worst times while in office, and a way for you to contact the mayor should you have any problems here in Seoul.

1stopKorea: What do you personally think is the most important thing for Seoul to do to prepare for the new millennium?

Mayor Goh: I am working toward improving the city's economic strength while bettering the living conditions of its citizens. My vision of the 21st century Seoul is as the 'City of Hope'. A city that takes its place among the world's great cities, one where the environment and the population work together in harmony.

For the past year and a half, since I've been running the city, we've been promoting 'a new millennium, a new Seoul' way of doing business. We hope to make Seoul a true world city while at the same time preserving it as a truly Korean city.


1stopKorea: You've been in office for about a year and a half now. What do you consider your most worthwhile accomplishment?

Mayor Goh: One thing I would have to say would be the results of our call for volunteers to help with the 2002 World Cup. We've already had approximately 30,000 people sign up to help out with the event.

Another thing I'm proud of is the new 'Civil Affairs Online System' that allows people to use the Internet to check on the progress of any business they are doing with the city. [People can log on to the system and by entering a case or document number they can track its progress through the city bureaucracy - editor's note] I believe this system contributes to a clearer, cleaner civil society and government.

1stopKorea: What is something from the first part of your term that you consider especially difficult or trying?

Mayor Goh: The most difficult thing was last April's subway strike. I was personally involved in at least 13 different meetings trying to find a compromise to prevent a strike. Unfortunately an agreement wasn't reached and they decided to strike. I think it was thanks to the patience of the public that we were finally able to overcome the strike.

Getting through the subway strike was truly a difficult time but it gave me a chance to see the real maturity of the public in dealing with such a difficult problem. I find the subsequent reshuffling of the subway union and its pledge to forego strikes a very encouraging sign for the future.

1stopKorea: You have a regular Saturday 'date' with the public - any plans to use this to meet with Seoul's expat community? What would you like to say to those from overseas with questions or problems with Seoul?

Mayor Goh: First I would like to say that as we work to improve Seoul we hope to make it a true world city, one that will eliminate any inconveniences foreigners may encounter while living here.

For those living here who do encounter difficulties or inconveniences, whatever they may be, we are listening carefully and think it is important that City Hall reflect that. Anyone wishing to report a problem can call City Hall, visit our homepage on the Internet [available in English] or e-mail me direct at anytime.

Copyright 1999-2001 1stopKorea