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According to Yonhap News,
(Incheon = Yonhap News) Reporter Bae Sang-hee
A medical complex will be established in the Incheon Songdo International City for the first time in a free economic zone in Korea.
Incheon City, Inha University Hospital and the Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority (IFEZ) signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday to build a medical complex in Songdo.
Hanjin Group, which has the Inha University Hospital as one of its affiliates, will invest KRW 500 billion to build the 77,550 m2 complex in phases from next year.
The complex will also have rooms for 1,300 patients and cooperate with hospitals in Korea and abroad to operate centers for foreign patients and various illnesses.
A complex for research and education aims to facilitate globalized, specialized and differentiated education programs and enhance research and development (R&D) infrastructure for the development of an advanced medical industry and biomedical materials.
A support complex will have lodging, a senior center and medical consulting facilities.
Hanjin plans to create medical tourism demand by integrating a global airport network and regional logistics infrastructure, including the Incheon International Airport and Incheon Port.
Incheon is expecting the complex to help enhance the quality of medical services for foreigners and citizens and make Songdo a global medical hub.
Incheon mayor Song Young-gil noted that Inha University Hospital has led efforts to attract Chinese and foreign tourists, adding that the complex will grow into a global medical complex in the future.
The complex is planned to be built on a site purposed for an industrial complex, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) needs to change the status of the site before construction takes place.
The city plans to undertake changing procedures when more details about the project become clear.
Incheon also announced that a non-profit international hospital promoted by Harvard Medical School and Seoul National University will proceed separately.
The city has requested that the Korean government change the development plan, which is currently purposed for an international hospital for profit, to be for a non-profit hospital and revise the law so that foreign medical staff can treat patients in a non-profit hospital in a free economic zone.
However, there seem to be difficulties obtaining approval from the Korean government. Some express concerns that the Hanjin medical complex will accelerate competition against other medical facilities in Songdo or that a relatively underdeveloped project will slow down.
An IFEZ official noted that building more than one general hospital in Songdo should not be a concern, as the hospitals will target not only Songdo residents but patients from around the world, adding that they will create a complementary relationship.
Copyrights Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved.
Source: Yonhap News (Oct. 16, 2013)
** This article was translated from the Korean.