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Tuesday, April 20, 1999 Published at 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Queen explores Korea old and new

The Queen greets families of British Embassy officials in Seoul

The Queen is getting glimpses of South Korea old and new on the second day of her state visit.

Jennie Bond in Seoul: The Queen was impressed with a prototype car for the millennium
The British head of state, who is making her first trip to the Korean peninsula, will combine the sights of modern Korea with the taste of the ancient Orient.

She began with a visit to the Daewoo Design Forum in Seoul.

Car manufacturer Daewoo is one of South Korea's biggest employers but this week they announced an ill-timed restructuring package which involved thousands of job cuts.

[ image: The Queen looks at a Daewoo Matiz]
The Queen looks at a Daewoo Matiz
The restructuring, forced on the company by the Asian economic crisis, is unlikely to affect production of South Korea's best-selling car, the Daewoo Matiz.

The Queen, who is accompanied by her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, saw a Korean-made Millennium concept car designed in West Sussex.

Daewoo has invested £70m in a design centre at Worthing, which was established in 1994, and now employs about 1,000 people.

Daewoo's Design Director Ginger Ostle said: "I think she realised that there are new technologies, new concepts, that could be changing the way that we drive and the way that we use our vehicles in the next millennium."

University tour

Meanwhile, the Duke of Edinburgh spoke at a conference on innovation for the new millennium, voicing concerns about preserving ethical standards in new technology.

He said: "The Internet is a fantastic development, but it's difficult to estimate the harm it can do when it is exploited by the peddlars of pornography and other crooks."

The BBC's Andrew Wood in Seoul: "The people here are very excited by the Queen's visit"
The Queen will also be shown around the world's largest women's university.

There she will be educated about the properties of the ancient Korean herb ginseng.

Researchers at Ewha Women's University in Seoul have found that when traditional red ginseng is taken internally, its many medicinal ingredients are used as needed by the human body.

Ginseng will automatically lower abnormally high blood pressure and raise dangerously low blood pressure.

[ image: Koreans have been preparing for the Queen's birthday on Wednesday]
Koreans have been preparing for the Queen's birthday on Wednesday
The royal schedule includes a visit to one of South Korea's top cartoon factories.

Asia's cartoon Hollywood

It is a little known fact that South Korea is the world's third biggest producer of cartoons, mostly contract animation for the US market.

Even The Simpsons is created in Korea, with the voices of Homer, Bart and the rest of the cast dubbed on later.

The Queen will see around the Ani Dream Animation Studio, which has been supplied with £1m worth of computer software by Britain's Cambridge Animation, 1998 winners of the Queen's Award for Export Achievement.

Britain's monarch is also set to meet the leaders of South Korea's top five industrial conglomerates - or chaebol - four of whom have invested heavily in the UK.

[ image: The Queen burns incense at the National Cemetery in Seoul]
The Queen burns incense at the National Cemetery in Seoul
Daewoo makes video recorders in Northern Ireland and vans in Birmingham and the LG Group produces TV components in South Wales.

The Queen is expected to call in on shops selling traditional Korean calligraphy, pottery and clothes during her visit.

View of the future

The Duke will visit a construction site where builders are erecting a new football stadium for the 2002 World Cup, which South Korea is co-hosting with Japan.

He will also see the ongoing construction of the Kayang Bridge, over Seoul's Han river, which is being overseen by British civil engineers Mott MacDonald.

Tuesday's night will see the royal pair as President Kim Dae-jung's guests of honour at a state banquet at the Blue House presidential residence.

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