The Korea Herald/Asia News Network
From left, The ASEAN-Korea Center Secretary-General Lee Hyuk, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon and Thai Ambassador Singtong Lapisatepun pose for pictures at the opening ceremony of ASEAN Week 2019 held on Friday at Seoul Plaza, Seoul. (The ASEAN-Korea Center/File)
The ASEAN-Korea Center, an intergovernmental organization, has kicked off ASEAN Week 2019 in Seoul.
The ASEAN-Korea Center Secretary-General Lee Hyuk, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon and Thai Ambassador Singtong Lapisatepun joined the opening ceremony held Friday at Seoul Plaza and delivered congratulatory remarks.
Seoul Mayor Park has pledged to strengthen ties with major cities of the 10 ASEAN member countries.
First lady Kim Jung-sook, who is on an overseas trip with President Moon Jae-in, also delivered a video message, in which she welcomed the visitors to the event.
Since its launch in 2017, the Moon administration has stressed the importance of elevating the relationship with ASEAN nations.
The nations are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. In total, the population of the ASEAN reaches 640 million, with their combined domestic product reaching $2.7 trillion.
Following the keynote speeches and the video was the ASEAN-Korea Music Festival, which featured cultural performances by groups from the 10 ASEAN member states, as well as ones by K-pop idols Kim Jun-su and The One.
From Friday through Sunday, special events and exhibitions will be held at Seoul Plaza to raise public awareness of ASEAN cultures and tourism ahead of the ASEAN-South Korea Commemorative Summit scheduled for November this year in Busan.
The three-day event includes cultural performances, design exhibitions and tourism booths to promote ASEAN cultures to the Korean public. The three main events, among many, are the ASEAN-Korea Music Festival on Friday, the ASEAN Fashion Festival on Saturday and ASEAN Travel Talk on Sunday.
In the meantime, tourism booths representing each ASEAN country will be installed at Seoul Plaza, and the countries’ national tourism bodies will hold promotional events and provide information on notable tourist destinations in cooperation with their respective embassies. And visitors who buy raffle tickets could win round-trip air tickets to the Philippines or Brunei Darussalam.
The center invited the citizens of Seoul and anyone with an interest in the ASEAN region to “take part in the event where they can experience ASEAN in all dimensions, from art to fashion, lifestyle, tourism and food,” the ASEAN-Korea Center Secretary-General Lee Hyuk previously said in a press release.