30 July 2010

Angkor-Gyeongju World Culture Expo 2006 Cachet

With the end of the Cold War, major trade partners of Cambodia have changed from the Soviet Union and allies to USA, east Asia and ASEAN countries. The Phnom Penh government has since pursued a drastic reform of openness through regional integrations, and this is notably reflected on stamps in 2000s.

From 2001, Cambodia has one sixth of her total stamp sets and commemorative handstamp cachets devoted to ASEAN, Japan and diplomatic relations with major Asian trade partners. One of the most commercial commemorations is the 2006 Angkor-Gyeongju World Culture Expo cachet.

From 21st November of 2006 to 9th January 2007, Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor, joined with Gyeongju of Korea to hold the Angkor-Gyeongju World Culture Expo 2006. Gyeongju is as ancient and cultural rich as Angkor, it had served as the capital of the Korean Silla Kingdom for a thousand years.

The not much cultural but so much commercial Expo highlighted Cambodian and Korean products and allowed visitors to take in exhibits and cuisine from both cultures. Although the authority called it an international event, the fair was actually targeted to boost tourism by wooing South Korean visitors.

Korean folk dancers let Korean visitors experience a homely sensation in a foreign land.
(Photograph from Somongkol Teng)

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen toured around Angkor with
Korean President Roh Moo-Hyu after the Expo opening ceremony.
(Photograph from Somongkol Teng)

Recently South Korea is getting significant as major trade partner of Cambodia, last year the country ranked the 8th on the list, or 7th if one doesn't count EU countries as a single entity.

This October the Korean group INTERCITY will start pouring 470 million US dollars in Siem Reap to build a full scale gaming resort, called the Angkor Park Resort. It is going to be located 20km away from Angkor, composing an 18 hole golf course, a casino, a waterpark, a shopping mall and some luxurious hotels. The first phase construction work is scheduled to finish by 2012.

The resort is destinated to draw Asian gamblers looking for an alternative to more established gambling centres, visiting Angkor ruins will just be their half day entertainment.

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