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Experts discuss ways to enhance cultural exchange between Korea, ASEAN

The Korean Wave has enhanced cultural exchange between Korea and the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, building a close regional bond, experts said at a forum organized by The Korea Herald on Wednesday.

Under the theme of “ASEAN and Korean Waves,” some 30 high-level representatives from leading media organizations in Southeast Asian countries and Korea, as well as the government, academia and business communities, discussed ways to spread the phenomenon through mutually beneficial partnerships in the region at the ASEAN-Korea Media Forum. 

Speakers and panelists pose for a photo during the ASEAN-Korea Media Forum, held at Lotte Hotel Seoul on Wednesday. (Park Hyun-koo/ The Korea Herald)
Speakers and panelists pose for a photo during the ASEAN-Korea Media Forum, held at Lotte Hotel Seoul on Wednesday. (Park Hyun-koo/ The Korea Herald)

During the opening ceremony, ASEAN-Korea Center Secretary-General Lee Hyuk said the Korean Wave has become “a crucial pillar for the strong relationship between the two regions.”

“Better understanding of each other’s culture will help us to appreciate and respect each other. We should continue our efforts in fostering a better environment to expand relationships through lively social, cultural and people-to-people exchange,” he said.

The ASEAN bloc is significant in the growth of Hallyu. It is the second-largest market for Korean music and broadcast content, totaling $86 million in 2016.

The Korean Wave is expected to play an important role in stimulating greater partnership, coupled with President Moon Jae-in’s New Southern Policy to prosper together with ASEAN, said Kwon Chung-won, CEO and publisher of The Korea Herald.

Analyzing the economic benefits brought about by Hallyu and growth in the country’s soft power, “It is time for us to discuss the transnational cultural community, centering on Hallyu,” said Jang Won-ho, a professor at the University of Seoul.

He said the empathy being formed among members of the BTS fan club, while embracing Hallyu content, is leading to the creation of a cultural community beyond national borders. “It should be the future of Hallyu.”

The forum also explored possible ways to promote ASEAN culture here.

The content industry of ASEAN could take a leap forward based on digital media innovation, said Lee Sung-min, a research associate at Korea Culture and Tourism Institute.

“This opens up the possibility that the content created by local producers can meet with the global fandom, and provides a foundation for diverse and complex cultural exchanges rather than a one-sided culture flow,” Lee said.
The event was sponsored by the Asia News Network -- made up of 24 leading news organizations from South Asia, Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia -- the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Meanwhile, the Asia News Network will hold a board meeting and a ceremony to mark its 20 years of establishment at Lotte Hotel Seoul from Wednesday to Saturday.

By Park Han-na (