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The Korean daily media headlines and humor

Monday, March 6, 2017

Your Excellency:

Here are The Korea Post notices and a roundup of important headlines from all major Korean-language dailies, TV and other news media of Korea today:

Very Respectfully Yours

/s/

Lee Kyung-sik

Publisher-Chairman

Korea Post Media

Tapped as Korea’s ‘Most Promising Culture & Tourism Festival’ for the 3rd consecutive year

Ambassadors, spouses invited to further enriched 2017 YeongamWangin Culture Festival

By Lee Kyung-sik

Publisher, The Korea Post media

This year again, Mayor and Mrs. Jeon Dong-pyung of Yeongam County of Jeollanam-do Province are hosting the impressive YeongamWangin Culture Festival on April 6-7, 2017, and invite ambassadors and madams to attend the opening ceremony and enjoy various interesting events of the Festival in a one-night, two-day tour.

The Festival was designated as the Most Promising Culture & Tourism Festival by the Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism for the third consecutive year.

(For participation in this year's tour and inquiries, please directly contact the Publisher at 010-5201-1740 or email edt@koreapost.com.--Ed.)

Wangin Culture Festival parade in Yeongam County in the southern region. It marks the visit of Dr. Wangin of the Baekje Dynasty to Japan transferring Hanja (Chinese characters) to Japan for the first time in the history of Korea, Japan and China.

To celebrate the birth and outstanding achievements of Wangin, the great scholar of the Baekje Dynasty, the Yeongam County has been hosting the Festival in April since 1992.

Born in the Yeongam County, Dr. Wangin went to Japan to teach scholastic knowledge and culture to the leaders of Japan including the Crown Prince at the time. Major programs of the Festival consist of an exhibition of artifacts and rituals related to Dr. Wangin, and performance of traditional folk arts, including spring rites, performance of folk music and dances, folk games, parades, shamanistic ritual, and fashion show of the Baekje costumes. The designation as the most promising culture and tourism festival for the third consecutive year is more significant as it was selected when screening processes got more rigorous in fiercer competition since 2015.

Ambassadors and leaders of the Yeongam County officially open the 2016 Yeongam

Wangjin Baksa Culture Festival.

Notably, the Festival demonstrated potential of evolving into a global event as it has been visited by ambassadors and senior diplomats of many foreign embassies in Korea, including Russia and Poland, as well as delegations from Hirakata and Kanzaki, Japan. In addition, the Festival largely expanded programs that can easily be participated in and enjoyed by tourists and regional residents.

For example, a musical entitled, ‘Scholar Wangin Leaves for Japan,’ enhanced the degree of enjoyment and understanding by the tourists through re-enactment activities of Dr. Wangin who helped Japan create and flourish the Asuka Culture.

The musical provided over 1,000 local residents and foreign tourists with excitement and invited them to join the subsequent street parade. Moreover, colorful folk games and programs aroused strong interest among international visitors, evaluating the event as a premium and safe festival.

(Please scroll down to the bottom for additional details and photos on the Yeongam Tour.—Ed.)

Mayor and Mrs. Jeon Dong-pyung of Yeongam County (seventh and eights from left,

front row, respectively) pose with Amb. and Mrs. Majka of Poland on their right and

other ambassadors and spouses visiting Yeongnam County .

The Light of Wangin Opens the Way to Communication and Co-existence

brings to my mind something we now refer to as ‘Cultural Diplomacy’,”

saidAmb. Majka of Poland, dean of the visiting members of the Diplomatic Corps to Yeongam.

http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=3128

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Excellencies and, especially defense attaches, please check and see what we published:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=647247805328889&set=a.240752115978462.68938.100001310274120&type=3&theater

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What’s ticking in Korea today?Here is a quick roundup of important news stories from the major Korean news media today:

KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)

KF Invites Ten European Policy Experts

The Seoul-based Korea Foundation(KF) said on Sunday that it has invited a group of experts from major European thinks tanks to discuss diplomacy and security issues on the Korean Peninsula.

The foundation said that during their weeklong trip to Saturday, the ten European experts will meet with South Korean officials from the ministries of foreign affairs, defense and unification to exchange views on state of affairs on the peninsula and in Northeast Asia

'S. Korea to Deploy THAAD as Soon as Possible This Year'

Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se says that the government will deploy a United States advanced THADD antimissile system as soon as possible within this year.

Appearing on a KBS TV program aired on Sunday, the minister reaffirmed that the deployment is the country’s self-defense measure to protect national security and the people’s lives amid growing threats of North Korea’s missiles and nuclear weapons.

Tesla to Open First Showrooms in S. Korea Next Week

United States electric carmaker Tesla Motors will open its first showrooms in South Korea next week.that it will open stores in Seoul on March 15 and Hanam in Gyeonggi Province on March 17.At the stores, clients can test-drive the S 90D, the first Tesla model that will be on sale in the country. The initial price of the modal is set at 121 million won.

S. Korea-Mercosur Trade Talks to Launch in 1st Half

South Korea and the Southern Common Market, also known as Mercosur, will launch trade negotiations to forge a free trade pact in the first half of the year.Visiting Argentina, the chair of Mercosur, on Thursday, Seoul's Trade, Industry and Energy Minister JooHyung-hwan agreed to launching trade negotiations.With the signing of the joint statement, South Korea and Mercosur will begin trade deal negotiations within the first half of the year after undergoing necessary domestic procedures respectively.

KOSPI up, KOSDAQ down

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index(KOSPI) on Thursday rose eleven points, or point-53 percent, to close at two-thousand-102.The tech-heavy KOSDAQ fell point-53 percent to just under 609.On the foreign exchange market, the value of the local currency weakened ten-point-nine won against the U.S. dollar, closing at one-thousand-141.

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Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)

Samsung leader to deny all bribery charges at trial

Samsung Group's de facto leader Lee Jae-yong will deny all charges that he gave bribes to President Park Geun-hye and her close friend in return for business favors at the upcoming trials this week, company sources said Sunday.The special probe team suspects that Lee gave or promised some 43.3 billion won (US$38.3 million) in kickbacks to Park's friend Choi Soon-sil in return for the government's backing of a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015.

Sales of autonomous cars expected to hit 20 mln worldwide in 2035: report

Worldwide sales of autonomous cars are forecast to reach 20 million units by the year of 2035 on the back of rapid development of related technologies, a report said Sunday."The smart car market will expand to a large extent as self-driving cars are expected to hit the road around 2020," said the report released by the state-funded Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade (KIET).It said the autonomous car industry will expand sharply in the coming years to hit annual sales of 20 million in 2035.

Acting president to chair NSC on N.K. provocation

Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn plans to head a meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Security Council on Monday as Pyongyang fired a projectile into the East Sea.The projectile was launched from a location near the North's Dongchang-ri long-range missile site at 7:36 a.m. and flew across the country before falling into the East Sea, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

S. Korea's trade minister vows to take legal action against China's retaliation

South Korea's trade minister on Sunday said the government can take international legal action against apparent retaliations by China against the joint Seoul-Washington plan to deploy a high-tech missile defense system on the Korean Peninsula."The South Korean government is keeping close tabs on retaliatory measures taken by the Chinese authorities and deal with any discrimination or damages that South Korean companies are suffering from," Trade Minister JooHyung-hwan said in a statement. "It will seek international legal action against possible violations of the World Trade Organization and the Seoul-Beijing free trade agreement."His comments came as China has taken a series of provocative actions against the Korean Wave and businesses as Seoul move to station the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).

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The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)

N. Korea fires several ballistic missiles: Seoul military

North Korea on Monday fired several ballistic missiles into the East Sea in an apparent protest against the ongoing joint military drills between South Korea and the United States, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

China’s retaliation against THAAD may clash with WTO, FTA rules: foreign minister

With China escalating economic retaliation on South Korea over a US-led missile defense system, Seoul’s foreign minister said on Sunday such Chinese moves may be in violation of the international trade laws and a bilateral trade pact.

Tension mounts as impeachment ruling looms

Tension is rising in South Korea as the nation awaits a court ruling on the fate of the Park Geun-hye presidency, expected to be out as early as this week. The Constitutional Court’s eight justices on Sunday continued their closed-door sessions to deliberate on the legality of Park’s parliamentary impeachment on Dec. 9 amid a sharp national divide over what to do with the disgraced leader.

Guilty or not: A closer look at Park’s charges

South Korea will learn the fate of the Park Geun-hye presidency within the next week, when the Constitutional Court is widely expected to announce its ruling on her impeachment trial. The top court’s eight justices are currently deliberating on the 13 charges leveled against Park by the parliament which voted on Dec. 9 to sack the conservative state chief over a scandal involving her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil.

Trump accuses Obama of tapping his phones

President Donald Trump on Saturday accused Barack Obama of tapping his phones during last year’s White House campaign, charges that his predecessor denied as “simply false.”I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!”

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The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)

North Korea fires multiple ballistic missiles at Dongchang-ri site

North Korea fired multiple ballistic missiles from its launch site in Dongchang-ri at 7:36 a.m., Monday, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).The JCS said the missiles flew about 1,000 kilometers, noting that South Korea and the United States are analyzing details including the kind of the missiles. Some observers raised possibility that they include an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), considering the location used for the launch this time. In February last year, Pyongyang launched a long-range rocket at the same site.

Seoul clueless over Chinese THAAD backlash

The government appears to have no effective tools to protect Korean businesses from mounting Chinese retaliation against the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system here, leaving the private sector bleeding.

'THAAD storm' gathering for tourism, hotel businesses

Korea's tourism industry has started feeling the pinch after China issued verbal guidance to tour agencies not to sell tours to the country in retaliation to the planned deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system here.

'Korea should build nation ruled by law'

South Korea must build a nation ruled by law to retool its economy as it faces an economic and political turning point, according to legendary investor Jim Rogers.In a recent interview here, Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, said it is time for Korea to wind up old practices such as collusive links between business and politics.

Malaysia expels North Korean envoy over Kim Jong-nam's assassination

Malaysia said Saturday that it has expelled Pyongyang's top envoy in the latest diplomatic pressure over the killing of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.Malaysia's Foreign Ministry declared North Korean Ambassador Kang Chol a persona non grata and said he should leave the Southeast Asian country by 6 p.m. on Monday.

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Dong-AIlbo (http://english.donga.com)

U.S. considers return of tactical nukes to Korean Peninsula

The Donald Trump administration is reportedly looking at a new policy toward North Korea including pre-emptive military strike options against its nuclear facilities as well as redeployment of American tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea.

Malaysia expels N. Korean ambassador over Kim Jong Nam murder

Ri Jong Chol, who was released due to insufficient evidence after being arrested for the murder of Kim Jong Nam, argued Friday that he was forced to confess to killing Kim. Ri is staying in Beijing before returning to Pyongyang and blamed Malaysian police for violating human rights. It is said that China, which has retaliated against South Korea’s THAAD deployment, is helping North Korea facing criticism over the murder of Kim Jong Nam.

Korea ushers in ‘Oxford edition’ era of Shakespeare collection

The publication of "William Shakespeare’s full collection" as translation by Lee Sang-seop late last year was a significant cultural milestone that should be remembered. When the first edition of the Shakespeare collection translated by Kim Jae-nam was published in the 1960s, Korea became the seventh country in the world to have the legendary British writer’s book collection published in its language. Several attempts have been made to publish a new edition since then, but Lee Sang-seop’s translation has finally opened a new chapter.

Samsung Bioepis wins patent dispute over ‘Humira’

Samsung Bioepis has won a patent dispute over "Humira," a rheumatism and arthritis treatment, which the Korea-based company filed against the U.K.-based global pharmaceutical company AbbVie. As a result, Samsung Bioepis, which is developing a biosimilar product of AbbVie’sHumira, has a positive outlook for its sales in Europe.

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Chosun-Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)

Malaysia Expels N.Korean Ambassador

The Malaysian government on Saturday gave North Korean ambassador Kang Chol 48 hours to leave amid suspicions that Pyongyang was behind the assassination of Kim Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb. 13.

Half of Singles Are Under 40

Singles eat at least two meals a day alone and enjoy drinking alone as well, and often live in one-bedroom flats measuring just 16 to 33 sq.m, according to a report by KB Financial Group's research center.

Tougher Penalties for In-Flight Rowdiness

The government is toughening penalties for violent behavior on passenger planes. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Thursday said the National Assembly passed a revision to aviation laws whereby violent passengers who threaten flight safety now face up to 10 years in prison, and five years even when their actions do not endanger a flight.

Another Cold Snap to Grip Korea Next Week

Temperatures are expected to yo-yo widely for the time being as another cold snap is forecast to grip the country next week.Daily temperatures are to vary widely on Friday, with the morning low in Seoul at -3 degrees Celsius and the daytime reaching 9 degrees, the Korea Meteorological Administration said on Thursday.

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HanKyoReh-Shinmoon (http://english.hani.co.kr)

Is the South Korean economy in an “absolute crisis”?

On Mar. 2, the Korean Economic Association held a policy seminar titled “Absolute Crisis for the South Korean Economy: Where Should We Go?” As the seminar title implies, one of the most prestigious economic associations in the country concluded that the current situation is an “absolute crisis.”

Poll shows overwhelming majority of S. Koreans still in favour of Park’s impeachment

As the countdown begins for the Constitutional Court’s ruling in President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment trial, polls show there is still overwhelming support for her impeachment.

On Mar. 3, Gallup Korea announced the results of a poll that it carried out on Feb.

Around one third of young South Koreans experience working poverty

Around one-third of young employed or job-seeking South Koreans are experiencing working poverty or unstable employment, a recent study shows. “Working poverty” refers to a situation in which an individual remains poor or vulnerable to poverty despite being employed.

Around one-quarter of South Koreans stuck in low-wage work

Around one-quarter of South Korean wage earners are engaged in low-wage work, a percentage that has remained virtually unchanged with just a 0.5 percentage point drop in the past 10 years, a study shows.

Life, art & awards at 67th Berlinale for Korean films

February 19th this year brought about the end of the 67th Berlin International Film Festival during a particularly cold year for the event, but one which yielded an array of delights for the world’s cinephiles. Among these were several Korean films which, after a quieter 2016, earned a pair of major awards, not to mention an unusually high degree of media scrutiny back home.

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JoongAng-Ilbo(conservative) (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)

Tillerson plans visits to Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing later this month to discuss possible countermeasures against North Korean provocations, multiple sources in Seoul and Washington told the JoongAngIlbo, an affiliate of the Korea JoongAng Daily.

China’s ‘incentive trips’ to Korea get canceled

It was only a year ago that a Chinese company sent a big group of its employees to enjoy a chimaek (fried chicken and beer) party in Incheon on a so-called incentive trip. Two months later, an even larger group flew in from China to eat samgyetang (Korean chicken ginseng soup) on the Han River.

NIS spied on Constitutional Court, says SBS

Opposition parties demanded Sunday an investigation into a report that the National Intelligence Service started illegal surveillance of the Constitutional Court shortly after it began the impeachment trial of President Park Geun-hye.

Popularity of ISAs peters out

A year ago, individual savings accounts, also known as ISAs, were a hot financial product.The accounts allowed individuals to manage their investments in multiple financial products, such as funds, derivatives and securities, through one account.

Special features spur Dongbu Daewoo sales

Lockable refrigerators and special laundry cycles for local costumes, some of the unconventional product ideas tried by Korea’s Dongbu Daewoo Electronics, have helped the company become a major hit in the Middle East, the firm’s officials said Sunday.

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The KyungHyang-Shinmoon(http://english.khan.co.kr/)

Among the 13 Reasons for Impeachment, Forced Donations and Leaked Secrets Are Likely to Be Accepted

The president's involvement in the forced donations from large companies for the establishment of the MI-R Foundation and the K Sports Foundation, which was the key reason for the impeachment, has largely been proven.

"SNU Graduates Connected to Shameful Incidents" "Remove Expectations of Privilege"

Seoul National University (SNU) President Sung Nak-in (66, photo) called for students to look inward as he said, "Recently, Seoul National University graduates have been in the news more for shameful acts."

Yellow Ribbon vs. The Stars and Stripes

On the afternoon of March 1, the 98th anniversary of the March First Movement, extreme tension filled the Sejongno crossroad near Gwanghwamun, Seoul. South of the crossroad, people took part in the candlelight demonstration calling for the Constitutional Court to ratify the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.

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The Korea Economic Daily (http://english.hankyung.com/)

Chinese Gov't Imposes Suspension Orders to 4 Lotte Mart Stores

The Chinese government imposed suspension orders on four Lotte Mart locations within the country. Even though the ostensible reason for the suspension was violation of fire safety laws, Lotte Mart officials said it was part of retaliatory measures against the Korean government's decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in its soil and Lotte's donation of a golf club in Seongju (North Gyeongsang Province) for a site for the defense system.

Korea's Growth Rate Slows to No. 10 among OECD Countries

Korea's economic growth rate fell to tenth highest among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member countries for two consecutive years. Once boasting the highest growth rate among OECD countries, Korea now slipped to No. 10 and is urged to develop measures to enhance its growth potential.

Galaxy Book Emerges as a Blue Chip in PC Market

A premium tablet Galaxy Book is emerging as a blue chip model in the personal computer market. Interest is high about whether the Galaxy Book can absorb the demand not only for tablets but also for laptop computers.

Korea's Gambling Revenue Tops 20 Tril. Won for Two Straight Years

Despite the economic slump, Korea's gambling industry continues to enjoy a boom time, with the nation's gambling revenue topping the 20-trillion-won level for two consecutive years.

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AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)

Mother beats baby to death with peach tree stick used by shaman for exorcism

A single mother's twisted love has led to the tragic death of her three-year-old baby who was brutally beaten with a peach tree stick used by shamans for exorcism.The 26-year-old mother identified by her surname Choi and her mother Shin, 50, have been arrested on charges of child abuse and manslaughter at their home in Incheon, south of Seoul, police said.

N. Korea test-fires ballistic missiles into sea amid high tension

North Korea test-fired several ballistic missiles into the sea amid high cross-border military tensions elevated by a major military exercise by US and South Korean troops, military authorities said.

Lotte hosts international vertical marathon race to celebrate tower opening

The Lotte World Tower, a new 123-story shopping and living tower complex, will hold a vertical international marathon race for the first time in South Korea to mark a grand opening ceremony next month as a new high-rise landmark in South Korea.

Girl group G-FRIEND sells over 100,000 copies of 4th mini-album

Girl group G-FRIEND has sold more than 100,000 copies of its upcoming 4th mini-album "The Awakening" for pre-sales before its release on Monday, breaking its own album sales record.

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Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)

Kia Motors’ Niro ranks 4th in U.S hybrid car market in Feb

Niro, South Korean automaker Kia Motors Corp.’s compact hybrid sports utility vehicle (SUV), ranked fourth in the U.S. hybrid vehicle market based on sales in just about a month’s time since its release in America.

KDB’s net loss for full 2016 to hit $3.1 bn, largest in 18 yrs

The Korea Development Bank (KDB) said on Friday its net loss for the full 2016 is estimated to have reached up to 3.6 trillion won ($3.1 billion), the largest in 18 years, due to massive valuation losses from Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. (DSME) in which the state-lender owns 79 percent stake.

Korea’s consumer price index up 1.9% in Feb

South Korea’s headline inflation gained 1.9 percent in February on year, largely due to rebound in oil prices. Fresh food prices that had led up consumer prices slowed its growth pace but prices of petroleum products and transportation accelerated at the fastest pace in five years.

China bans trip sales to Korea in retaliation for THAAD deployment

China cranked up punitive actions on South Korea for going ahead with the plan of installing an advanced U.S. anti-missile defense system known as the THAAD, or Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, by commanding travel agencies to stop selling trips to South Korea and clamping down harder on Lotte Group for yielding its land to host the weapons battery.

The Korea Post

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Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik

Tapped as Korea’s ‘Most Promising Culture & Tourism Festival’ for 3rd consecutive year

Ambassadors, spouses invited to further enriched 2017 YeongamWangin Culture Festival

By Lee Kyung-sik

Publisher, The Korea Post media

This year again, Mayor and Mrs. Jeon Dong-pyung of Yeongam County of Jeollanam-do Province are hosting the impressive YeongamWangin Culture Festival on April 6-7, 2017, and invite ambassadors and madams to attend the opening ceremony and enjoy various interesting events of the Festival in a one-night, two-day tour.

The Festival was designated as the Most Promising Culture & Tourism Festival by the Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism for the third consecutive year.

(For participation in this year's tour and inquiries, please directly contact the Publisher at 010-5201-1740 or email edt@koreapost.com.--Ed.)

Wangin Culture Festival parade in Yeongam County in the southern region. It marks the visit of Dr. Wangin of the Baekje Dynasty to Japan transferring Hanja (Chinese characters) to Japan for the first time in the history of Korea, Japan and China.

To celebrate the birth and outstanding achievements of Wangin, the great scholar of the Baekje Dynasty, the Yeongam County has been hosting the Festival in April since 1992.

Born in the Yeongam County, Dr. Wangin went to Japan to teach scholastic knowledge and culture to the leaders of Japan including the Crown Prince at the time. Major programs of the Festival consist of an exhibition of artifacts and rituals related to Dr. Wangin, and performance of traditional folk arts, including spring rites, performance of folk music and dances, folk games, parades, shamanistic ritual, and fashion show of the Baekje costumes. The designation as the most promising culture and tourism festival for the third consecutive year is more significant as it was selected when screening processes got more rigorous in fiercer competition since 2015.

Ambassadors and leaders of the Yeongam County officially open the 2016 Yeongam Wangjin Baksa Culture Festival.

Notably, the Festival demonstrated potential of evolving into a global event as it has been visited by ambassadors and senior diplomats of many foreign embassies in Korea, including Russia and Poland, as well as delegations from Hirakata and Kanzaki, Japan. In addition, the Festival largely expanded programs that can easily be participated in and enjoyed by tourists and regional residents.

For example, a musical entitled, ‘Scholar Wangin Leaves for Japan,’ enhanced the degree of enjoyment and understanding by the tourists through re-enactment activities of Dr. Wangin who helped Japan create and flourish the Asuka Culture.

The musical provided over 1,000 local residents and foreign tourists with excitement and invited them to join the subsequent street parade. Moreover, colorful folk games and programs aroused strong interest among international visitors, evaluating the event as a premium and safe festival.

Mayor and Mrs. Jeon Dong-pyung of Yeongam County (seventh and eights from left, front row, respectively) pose with Amb. and Mrs. Majka of Poland on their right and other ambassadors and spouses visiting Yeongnam County .

The Light of Wangin Opens the Way to Communication and Co-existence brings to my mind something we now refer to as ‘Cultural Diplomacy’,” said Amb. Majka of Poland, dean of the visiting members of the Diplomatic Corps to Yeongam.

We are committed to upgrading the Wangin Culture Festival to a leading international festival which more visitors and regional residents can enjoy and experience the traditional Korean local culture,” said an official at the Yeongam County government. Yeongam is a county located in the southwestern region of Korea producing a large variety of agricultural products.

Last year, Ambassadors Krzysztof Majka of Poland and 18 other members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps attended the significant 2016 Yeongam Dr. Wangin Culture Festival in Yeongam County in a two-day tour on April 7-8, 2016.

Also attending the event were Ambassadors Antonio QuinteiroNobre of Portugal, PetarAndonov of Bulgaria, Gonzalo Ortiz of Spain and Ruben Eloy Arosemena of Panama and a number of other senior diplomats and their madams, who included Charge d' Affaires Yadira Hidalgo de Ortiz of Venezuela, Counsellors DiaaHammad of Egypt, BegenchDurdiyev of Turkmenistan and Yasuhiro Morimoto of Japan, Head of Chancery RossanaStanziola of Panama and senior members Novikova Irina and Rud Aleksandra of the Russian Trade Representation.

Ambassador Majka of Poland (10th from left, front row) and other ambassadors and diplomats watch Mayor Jeon make an opening speech with other ambassadors and dignitaries from the local government and civic figures at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Yeongam Wangjin Bakja Culture Festival

During the two-day tour of the Festival, the visiting envoys, other senior diplomats and their spouses attended various interesting ceremonies and events, which included a hands-on experience in playing the traditional Korean zithters, Gayageum, at the Gayageum Sanjo Memorial Hall in the Yeongam County. Ambassador Krzysztof Majka of Poland surprised the Korean hosts as well as the fellow members of the visiting Diplomatic Corps by skillfully playing on the traditional Korean musical instrument.At the opening ceremony at the Wangin After the first day’s schedule, Mayor Jeon Dong-pyung of the Yeongam County said, “Yeongam is the home county of the historically famous Wangin Baksa (Dr. Wangin or Wani as is known in Japan), who spread Linyu (the Analects of the Chinese) and Cheonjamun (Thousand Chinese Character Text) to Japan 1,600 years ago, which gave rise to the brilliant Asuka Culture of Japan.” Then he said, “At present, Yeongam houses the Daebul National Industrial Complex and the Hyundai and Samho heavy industrial bases and together with them all the citizens of the Yeongam County are one in the construction of an affluent, welfare county through development of agriculture.”(See excerpts from the speech toward the end of this article.)

Amb. Andonov of Bulgaria (right) with Artist Lee Ho-shin.

In response to the welcome speech, Ambassador Majka of Poland, in his capacity as the dean of the visiting members of the Diplomatic Corps said, “In response, Ambassador Majka of Poland said, “I am especially proud and happy to participate in this noteworthy event, which is the only Historical Personality Festival in Korea that takes place along the Cherry Blossom Tree-lined Road of 100-ri.” “The theme of this year Festival: “The Light of Wangin Opens the Way to Communication and Co-existence,” he said, “brings to my mind something we now refer to as ‘cultural diplomacy’.” (See excerpts from his speech at the end of this article.)On day 2, the visiting ambassadors toured the Ha Jung-Woong Art Museum where they met with Artist Lee Ho-Shin and obtained his hand-written signatures.

The visiting amassadors and other senior diplomats sit in front of an art work at the Yeongam Ha Jong-ung Art Museum.

Then they visited the Pottery Museum of Hwangju and had a hands-on experience in pottery making. Each participant in the tour made his/her own pottery work and signed their name on the bottom of their pot they have created. Later, Mayor Seon sent all the works to the makers after having them all baked in the pottery kiln.The farewell luncheon for the visiting ambassadors, senior diplomats and their spouses were hosted on April 8 was by Chairman Kim Ha-nam of the Yeongam County at the Gichan Village, Yeongam County.He said, “I would like to express my ardent hopes that though it has been but a short time your memory of the Yeongam County will last for a long, long time and that wherever you may be you will all kindly remember at all times the Yeongam County, the home of Wangin Baksa, or Doctor Wangin, and kindly disseminate the information you have had access to during your stay here.” (See excerpts at the end of this article.)

Mrs. Marwa Mahmoud Harby (wife of the Counsellor &DCM DiaaHammad of Egypt); Ambs.Majka (Poland) and Ortiz (Spain), Mr. William Ortiz (husband of Charge d' Affaires Yadira Hidalgo de Ortiz ofVenezuela), CDA Yadira Hidalgo de Ortiz of Venezuela, Counsellor and Mrs. BegenchDurdiyev of Turkmenistan, Senior Expert Rud Aleksandra of the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation, Chief Expert Novikova Irina of the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation and Counsellor Yasuhiro Morimoto of Japan, pose in front of the GayageumSanjo Memorial Hall.

Excerpts from the welcome speech by Mayor Jeon:

I extend my warmest welcome to all the Excellencies and Madam who have taken the trouble of coming a long way to grace our Festival with your kind attendance.Together with the 60,000 citizens of the Yeongam County, I extend my warmest welcome to His Excellency Governor Lee Nak-yeon of the Jeolla Province, His Excellency Ambassador Krzysztof Majka of Poland in Seoul and all the distinguished guests from Korea and abroad, who have kindly taken their precious time of their schedule to grace us with their presence here today.Through your kind attendance, I feel your brotherly love and affection for us.

Amb. Majka of Poland (seated second from left) holds the picture of Yeongam Arirang with other visiting members of the Diplomatic Corps.

The Yeongam County of the Jeollanam-do Province is home of many historical and cultural legacies of distinction such as the National Park of Mt. Wolchul and the National Treasure Buddhist Temple of Dogap-sa.In particular, Yeongam is the home county of the historically famous Wangin Baksa (Dr. Wangin or Wani as is known in Japan), who spread Linyu (the Analects of the Chinese) and Cheonjamun (Thousand Chinese Character Text) to Japan 1600 years ago, which gave rise to the brilliant Asuka Culture of Japan.

At present, the Yeongam County houses the Daebul National Industrial Complex and the Hyundai and Samho heavy industrial bases. Together with them all the citizens of the Yeongam County are one in the construction of an affluent, welfare county through development of agriculture.Today, the Yeongam County is simultaneously opening the Wangin Culture Festival and the Republic of Korea Hanok Construction Expo of the Traditional Korean Housing Architecture. Through your attendance, I hope that the distinguished guests will all take home a wonderful memory. Once again, I would like express my heart-felt gratitude and welcome to all the distinguished guests here today for their kind visit to the Yeongam County and I would like to express my sincere hopes that you will all enjoy the fragrance and sight of the beautiful cherry blossoms and all take home a wonderful memory.And also, I would like solicit that wherever you may be our distinguished guests will always remember our Yeongam County. I wish endless blessings of God to the all the countries and families of the distinguished guests here today who grace our county with your kind presence. Thank you very much.

Left: Amb. Gonzalo Ortiz of Spain (left) with a 'Baekje warrior' holding the national flag of Spain. Right: Amb. Andonov of Bulgaria (right) with a ‘Baekje warrior’ holding the national flag of Bulgaria

Congratulatory speech by Ambassador Majka of Poland:

Honorable Mayor Jeon Dong-pyung, distinguished hosts of the Yeongam County, honorable guests, ladies and gentlemen.It is my great honor to share this words with you; here in Jeolla Province, on the occasion of the YeongamWangin Culture Festival. This Festival is a remarkable event, held every year in memory of the Great Will of Dr. Wangin who was a precursor of the long-lasting and complex relations between Korea and Japan.

It is without doubt that 1600 years ago, Dr. Wangin significantly contributed to the development of a mutual friendship through cultural exchange as his trip to Japan was followed by further bilateral visits aimed to exchange knowledge and experience in science, education and culture.I am especially proud and happy to participate in this noteworthy event, which is the only Historical Personality Festival in Korea that takes place along the Cherry Blossom Tree-lined Road of 100-ri. The theme of this year Festival: “The Light of Wangin Opens the Way to Communication and Co-existence” brings to my mind something we now refer to as “Cultural Diplomacy.”

Left: Amb. and Mrs. Ruben Eloy Arosemena of Panama in front of the Panamanian National Flag (second from left in the backdrop). Right: Amb. and Mrs. Antonio Quinteiro Nobre of Portugal with a ‘Baeke warrior’ holding the national flag of Portugal

This event is a commemoration of great historical example of cultural diplomacy that was conducted centuries ago by Dr. Wangin who brought together Korea and Japan by introducing the Analects of Confucius, Cheonjamun (One Thousand Basic Chinese Characters), calligraphy, pottery and many others ancient achievements. His efforts extraordinarily contributed to the development of Japanese society and culture in its Asuka Period. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that Dr. Wangin could be easily considered as a progenitor of the concept now known as Hallyu, or Korean Wave. In this regard, also the Festival is a representative example of Hallyu, especially in the grand way it has been organized and promoted, not only domestically but also internationally.

Chairman Kim Ha-nam of the Yeongam County Council (standing) offers a toast with Vice Governor Kim Yang-soo (seated at his left) to Ambassador and Mrs. Majka of Poland (second and first from left) and Ambassador and Mrs. Quinteo Nobre of Portugal (second and fourth from right)

Let this event remind us about the importance of cooperation and mutual exchange in peaceful and creative way as we all live in more complex and interconnected world. On behalf of the diplomatic corps, I would also like to use this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to the whole community of Jeolla Province. Our participation in such an event serves as a unique opportunity to bring Korea and our countries and provinces together, which would strengthen the existing cultural and economic ties between Korea and other parts of the world that we represent here in the spirit of Dr. Wangin’s mission centuries ago.Thank you for your hospitality and for inviting us to this memorable festival and through it giving us a chance of interacting with the people and authorities of the Jeolla Province and Yeongam County.

From right: Ambs. Antonio QuinteiroNobre of Portuga and Ruben Eloy Arosemena of Panama and Mr. William Ortiz (husband of Charge d' Affaires Yadira Hidalgo de Ortiz of Venezuela)

Address by Chairman Kim Ha-nam of the Yeongam County at farewell luncheon:

I would like express my deepest gratitude to all the distinguished members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps who have kindly taken time out of their business to grace us with your visit to the Yeongam County. I hope that Your Excellencies and Madams have all had a pleasant time.It has been a really short time. However, I hope that it has been a beautiful and precious time while in Yeongam.Thanks to your kind attendance at the Festival despite your busy schedule, the Wangin Culture Festival has become all the more brilliant and sparkling as well as more widely known among all the different countries of the world.Once again, I would like to express our deepest gratitude to all the Excellencies and other Distinguished Diplomats from Poland, Portugal, Bulgaria, Spain, Panama, Venezuela, Egypt, Turkmenistan, Japan and Russia.I ardently wish that the precious relationship formed between Yeongam and the distinguished guests will continue flourish into the future. Our Yeongam County will now seek to increase our active exchange and cooperation with all the countries of the world as well as those kindly represented by the Excellencies and other distinguished diplomats here today.In closing, I would like to express my ardent hopes that though it has been but a short time your memory of the Yeongam County will last for a long, long time and that wherever you may be you will all kindly remember at all times the Yeongam County, the home of WanginBaksa, or Doctor Wangin, and kindly disseminate the information you have had access to during your stay here.Please stay in the best of health and be happy at all times. I offer my prayers for the continued prosperity and development of your countries.

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Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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