south korea

October 19, 2010

There’s no doubt that South Korea has set its sights on becoming a major contemporary cultural hub in Asia, whether it’s through its increasingly prominent movie industry, rapidly growing design market, or proliferating modern art facilities.

World leaders, who will visit Seoul for the G20 summit to be held in November, are likely to receive a very special gift from the presidential office at the end of the two-day session. A fancy book on Korean cuisine, tentatively titled “Nature of Korean Food by Kim Yoon-ok,” is part of the first lady’s pet project targeting foreign dignitaries that will be here.

Korea and India have always had strong cultural ties and in a collaborative effort sponsored by the Seoul city government, artists from both countries put forward a spellbinding performance.

People there are no longer what they used to be with an increasing number of North Koreans secretly tuning in to radio broadcasts late at night to listen to uncensored news from the outside world, according to North Korean defectors living in Seoul.

A giant Korean wave has just hit the shores of Jakarta with the city holding a series of Korea-related events throughout the week. Dubbed "Indonesia-Korea Week," Korea's Presidential Council on Nation Branding will host various events in an effort to further strengthen relations between the two countries.

Korean soloists were invited to perform lead roles in a Bolshoi Ballet performance, and it seems the unprecedented event may be more than a one-time gesture of friendly diplomacy.

The concept of "nation branding" has become increasingly familiar here as the government has introduced various programs to promote Korea's economic and social achievements abroad, and to attract foreign visitors and investment. In terms of global image, however, Korea lags behind its multinational firms such as Samsung, LG, SK and Hyundai.

Sports are making the well-known ambassador, who often goes by her Korean name, Shim Eun-kyung, even more popular among Koreans. She regularly plays tennis, for example, with Korean friends at her residence behind downtown Seoul's Deoksu Palace.