Aung San Suu Kyi to meet 'Hallyu' stars
By Kim Young-jin, Jun Ji-hye
Myanmar’s pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi plans to meet actor and singer Ahn Jae-wook Thursday, indicating that she is a big fan of hallyu, the Korean culture boom, according to foreign ministry officials Monday.
Suu Kyi arrived here Monday to attend the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Special Olympics Winter Games that begin Tuesday.
Despite her tight schedule during her five-day visit, she plans meeting with Ahn along with other hallyu stars for a dinner at a Seoul hotel.
The meeting between Suu Kyi and the hallyu stars was arranged at Suu Kyi’s request.
Actor Ahn has immense popularity in Myanmar thanks to an MBC TV drama aired in 1997 called “Star in My Heart” in which he featured.
Hallyu began in earnest in Myanmar from 2002 after the export of “Autumn in My Heart,” a KBS TV drama, in which actor Song Seung-heon and actress Song Hye-kyo made their names. “Boys Over Flowers” and its leading actor Lee Min-ho also won popularity, along with Ahn and Songs.
In Myanmar, Korean dramas tend to be more popular than songs because K-pop singers have not visited there, while many TV dramas have been exported.
The meeting will take place after the Myanmar opposition leader visits the May 18th National Cemetery that honors people killed in the 1980 Gwangju democracy uprising.
She will belatedly be awarded the 2004 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights. The award is given in commemoration of the Gwangju democratization movement of 1980, when a popular uprising was suppressed by the military in the town located in the southwest of the peninsula.
While visiting Korea, the daughter of late General Aung San, a hero of the Southeast Asian country’s independence movement, will attend the Winter Games opening ceremony along with a global development summit, where about 300 international figures will discuss welfare for the intellectually disabled.
She plans to have talks with President Lee Myung-bak and President-elect Park Geun-hye on Tuesday, on her first trip to the country.
Seoul has been eager to build ties, with Lee visiting the Southeast nation and hosting Myanmar President Thein Sein last year. During the talks, the sides agreed to begin negotiations on a pact that would safeguard bilateral investments.
In addition, the two leaders pledged to increase cooperation in energy, resources development and infrastructure in the resource-rich country.
The talks with Park are likely to garner interest given the similarities and differences the two figures share. Many observers have pointed out that both are descended from powerful fathers, the late President Park Chung-hee and Gen. Aung San, both of whom were assassinated. However, Park’s father was a military strongman who oversaw massive economic growth; while Suu Kyi’s father fought against military dictatorship.