Princess Astrid of Belgium is currently leading the Belgian delegation during an economical mission to South Korea. She is there to “open doors” for the business delegation that is joining her.
Ever since King Philippe became King of Belgium he has asked his sister Princess Astrid to lead the Belgian economical missions abroad. This time Princess Astrid travelled to South Korea with a delegation of 250 people consisting of business people, academics and federal and regional politicians. The mission will last a week and Princess Astrid is expected to return home on Saturday.
Princess Astrid’s agenda in South Korea is very full. On Monday she became an honorary citizen of Seoul. The Mayor of Seoul Park Won-soon appointed the Princess with the title and a certificate. During the mission, the Princess also met the new President Moon Jae and Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon. The Princess also visited the Global Campus of the University of Ghent (Belgium) in South Korea. Director of Internationalization Guido Van Huylenbroeck (UGhent) said about the visit: “The fact that the economic mission led by Princess Astrid visits our campus in South Korea is very important for the visibility of the campus, both in South Korea and here in Belgium.”
One of the most special activities during the mission was a visit to the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea called “joint security area”. The “joint security area” was created in 1953 after the ceasefire and is nowadays controlled by the UN. More than 3,000 Belgian soldiers fought at the side of South Korea during the war with North Korea. 106 of those soldiers died there. The Princess and a small delegation got a tour around the area and they also saw the North Korean propaganda village Kijong-Dong. There was music playing and as their guide explained it was traditional Korean music Princess Astrid joked “So it’s not Psy?”. Psy is the South Korean singer who scored a hit with Gangnam Style.