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A delegation from the Republic of Korea’s capital city Seoul has visited Vietnam to participate in an exhibition on a basic construction plan for the area along Hanoi’s Red river banks. Seoul Vice-Mayor Choi Chang Sik talks about the plan.

Some people have compared the Han river with a polished diamond after Seoul completed the Han river project. Could you please briefly describe the results of this project?

The project was completed and brought good results. Although it does not affect 100% of Seoul’s development, it has a great effect on the quality of people’s lives and changes the face of the city.

Thanks to water control, there are no longer floods. People’s quality of life has obviously improved. The ecosystem is abundant. The environment around the Han river has remarkably improved. Urban areas and apartment blocks have been built along both banks of the river according to the city’s plan. The system of bridges and highways has brought effective benefits for socio-economic development in Seoul, with 8 lanes on the northern bank and 10 lanes on the southern one.

12 parks along the two banks draw 45 million tourists every year.

With the renaissance plan in 2007, the Han river region truly became the tourist, social, cultural and economic center of Seoul and made Seoul become a “port city” in spite of not being on the sea.

What do you think about Hanoi’s Red river project?

If comparing the Han river region with a diamond which was polished with great care to become jewelry, the Red river is like an unpolished diamond. The improvement will make the future image of Hanoi.

I think the project will not only bring direct effectiveness for the infrastructure but also indirect effectiveness such as creating jobs and helping the socio-economic and cultural development of Hanoi.

Based on the inheritance of historical and cultural traditions of Hanoi – a city of one thousand years of culture, Hanoi and Seoul will cooperate to carry out the project to develop the city toward international competitiveness and to create a space of living, relaxation and entertainment that is harmonious with nature and friendly with the environment.

The Red river region in the future will include a riverside ecological reserve, a general sports park, a historical ecological park, open parks for people, squares, restored traditional villages, buildings, villas, car-parks and entertaining areas.

Which experiences will Seoul share with Hanoi?

We will share with Hanoi all experiences in implementing the Han river project, including lessons from both success and failure. There will be a flexible combination after studying the specific conditions in the Red river region.

For example, it is necessary to predict the effects of flood control works even while building them, especially their effects on environment.

Experiences from the Han river plan and development will be applied to completely change the face of the Red river region. They include preventing floods for up to 250 years; and improving dykes and the environment. This will help the region become an international urban area in the future.

Which difficulties do you think Hanoi will face when implementing the project?

I emphasize that Hanoi needs a great determination and will to reach this goal. It takes much longer than just one or two years. Without the support of the state, Hanoi will not carry out the project itself. Because this is not a local project but a national one in order to change the face of the nation’s capital. We are willing to cooperate with you to implement this project. However, Hanoi also needs to create the best conditions for experts in planning, architecture and construction to learn from experience.

In addition, compensation and ground clearance will meet difficulties. There is a need to have a deep understanding of the rights and expectations of local people. To do this, the project will not only direct common development of the city but also ensure the rights of people.

The first period of the project was completed. What is your opinion about its initial results?

As far as I know, the first period of the project comprehensively assessed the situation of the Red river region, strength and weakness, opportunities and challenges to propose specific tasks that need to be solved. The project considered problems of geography, terrain, meteorology, geology, hydrography; flood rule; socio-economic factors; infrastructure and environmental characteristics. These research will provide a foundation for the following steps of the project.

I believe that Hanoi will successfully polish the Red river region into a valuable diamond!

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