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Korea Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Oct 27, 2010

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in South Korea to safety and security issues related to expected public demonstrations around venues for the G20 Summit scheduled to be held in Seoul, November 11-12, 2010. The expected demonstrations will disrupt travel and have the possibility of becoming violent. The U.S. Embassy in Seoul recommends that if you are not directly involved with the G20 Summit, you should avoid host sites, including the Coex Center in Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, in south Seoul. You should avoid areas near the Summit sites or areas where there are large gatherings or increased police presence. This Travel Alert expires on November 13, 2010.

The Group of 20 (G20) is composed of the world’s 19 leading economies plus the European Union, and over 32 heads of state and 10,000 participants will gather in Seoul for the Summit. Seoul will be on heightened security alert during the Summit, and visitors should expect delays when traveling into or around the city. The Coex Center in south Seoul will be closed to the public on November 12, and automobile and pedestrian traffic for two kilometers around the complex will be restricted from November 8-12. Expect delays on all forms of transportation throughout Seoul the week of November 8-12, including roads, subways, buses, and at airports.

Protests at previous G20 Summits have resulted in outbreaks of violence. Korean authorities are preparing for potential protests from both international and local groups. Large numbers of police and security personnel will be deployed to assist with security during the Summit. A protest area has been designated at Olympic Park, but demonstrations could also occur in areas throughout Seoul. Security will be especially tight at the Coex Center, which will have a two-kilometer radius of security checks. Security will also be higher than normal at airports, hotels and other Summit venues. Be alert and aware of your surroundings and pay attention to what the local news media has to say about local conditions.

U.S. citizens traveling abroad are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate so they can obtain updated information on travel and security. Travelers to Korea should regularly monitor U.S. Embassy Seoul’s website and the website of the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the U.S. Department of State where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Korea can be found. The U.S. Embassy also encourages you to review "A Safe Trip Abroad," which includes valuable security information for those living and traveling abroad. In addition to information on the Internet, you may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The U.S. Embassy in Seoul is located at 32 Sejong-no, Jongno-gu. The email for the Consular Section at Embassy Seoul is Embassy Seoul’s emergency telephone number is 02-397-4114 (domestic) or 82-2-397-4114 (international). Embassy Seoul will be closed on November 11, 2010, for the Veterans Day holiday, but otherwise will be open for routine American citizen services during the G20 Summit.

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