More Cultural Exchanges Between ASEAN, Korea
By Kim Sue-young, Han Sang-hee
SEOGWIPO, Jeju Island _ Wrapping up the two-day ASEAN-Korea Commemorative Summit on the resort island of Jeju, President Lee Myung-bak said Tuesday that the self-governing province has the chance to become a world famous spot through the successful summit.
He also promised government support for the development of Jeju, the nation's island province.
``Thanks to Jeju residents' cooperation, we successfully held the commemorative summit,'' presidential spokesman Lee Dong-kwan quoted Lee as saying.
Referring to a naval base scheduled to be built here by 2014, the President said, ``It is an essential project for Jeju's development as well as national security.''
Lee also called for active support from Jeju citizens, stressing that the construction project would be beneficial for the island's tourism.
The government plans to make the naval base an ocean park and resort at which two 150,000-ton cruise ships can dock.
Globalization of Hansik
With the summit as momentum, the government also vowed to support the globalization of hansik, or Korean food.
``Food is the art of life and the essence of culture reflecting natural environments and history,'' Minister of Culture, Tourism and Sports Yu In-chon said.
Noting that Korean food is healthy and tasty, he added that the Jeju summit would be a chance to introduce Korean food and strengthen ties between Korea and ASEAN member states.
As part of efforts to promote Korean foods, President Lee Myung-bak barbequed lamd beef and abalone, a specialty of Jeju Island, and served them to the leaders during a luncheon at the Shilla Hotel Tuesday.
Cultural Exchanges With ASEAN
The commemorative summit was a place to help better the understanding of the cultures of Korea and ASEAN member states.
``It was a good chance to show Korea's culture to other Asian countries, and I also got to learn the differences between my culture and Korea's,'' Sombat Trongamontrum, a journalist from Thai News Agency, told The Korea Times.
Noting that Korean dramas and singers are very popular among teenagers in Thailand, he said ``In terms of the versatility Korean singers and actors have, it has given teenagers hope that Asian stars can also become popular internationally.''
Referring to the Jeju World Culture & Travel Expo held on the sidelines of the summit, he said that it needs to elevate this type of cultural cooperation and broaden it to other areas such as education and social issues.
The 11 countries' efforts to boost cultural exchanges were embodied in the ASEAN-Korea Traditional Orchestra, which staged its inaugural performance here Sunday.
The group consists of 52 different traditional instruments played by 80 players from the constituent nations, and will continue to hold concerts around the world.
South Korea will step up its efforts for consistent, active cultural exchanges via the Asian Culture Complex to be completed in Gwangju in 2012.
It is expected to provide various venues for exhibition, performance, research and creation of art and culture.
Cooperation to Solve N. Korea Nuclear Issue
On the last day of the commemorative summit, the 11 leaders adopted a joint press statement on North Korea's nuclear test.
Moon Tae-young, spokesman at the ministry of foreign affairs and trade, said the department welcomes the joint movement, hoping that it would help solve the problem.
``It is good that the 10 ASEAN member countries spoke with one voice condemning the nuclear issue,'' he told The Korea Times.
He also reiterated that the government still wants to solve the North Korea issue through dialogue.
The 11 leaders condemned Pyongyang's provocation and urged the communist state to return to the six-party talks through a joint press statement they adopted at the end of the summit, describing North Korea's nuclear test and missile launches as clear violations of previous agreements.
The communist state conducted a second underground nuclear test May 25, which has heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and saw strong condemnation from the U.N.
According to reports, the secretive state has been preparing to test-fire a long-range missile despite the concerns of the international community.
Meanwhile, the CEO Summit, a sidelines event of the commemorative summit, offered opportunities for local businessmen to address their difficulties doing business in Southeast Asia and suggest future business projects to leaders from ASEAN.
Hong Moon-pyo, CEO of the Korea Rural Community Corporation, proposed promoting infrastructure construction regarding agriculture during meetings with leaders of Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos and Cambodia.
He said he received a ``positive response'' from the leaders and expressed hope that this gathering would prompt further economic cooperation between local and ASEAN companies.
The summit under the theme of ``Change, Challenge and Collaboration for Asia's Prosperity'' brought the ASEAN leaders and about 700 local and Southeast Asian companies together.
``I expect that this summit would trigger brisker exchanges of capital, human resources and culture with ASEAN,'' said Chung Dong-soo, director general of Invest Korea operated by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).