Discovering Korea in a new light

Wani Roslan

After getting an invitation to participate in the week-long 2019 KF ASEAN Next Generation Leaders to Visit Korea programme, I was excited as it was my first time visiting the country renowned for its globally influential K-pop culture.

I was fortunate to be chosen as the only representative from Brunei and learn about the history, culture, economic and socio-political aspects of the Republic of Korea.

On the first day of the programme, we were briefed at our designated accommodation, The Plaza Hotel Seoul, located at the heart of downtown Seoul.

It is a premier choice even for the most discerning business travellers who pursue style and convenience. The National Museum of Korean Contemporary History was the first place we visited.

It provides insight to modern Korea that exhibits important historical moments in politics, economy, society and culture of Republic of Korea. The museum features four exhibition halls – Prelude to the Republic of Korea, Foundation of the Republic of Korea, Development of the Republic of Korea, and Modernisation of South Korea toward the World.

Media representatives during the visit

It covers the period from the late 19th Century to the present. It also includes a children’s museum and a special exhibition gallery enableing visitors to explore modern and contemporary Korean history through various themes and topics. After the visit, we had a welcoming luncheon hosted by Director-General of International Cooperation Bureau of Korea Foundation Choi Jae-Jin who greeted us together with officials from the Korea Foundation.

Later, we visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and met the Director for Policy Analysis and Director of Regional Public Diplomacy Division.

We were briefed on the national vision and security objectives that included peaceful resolution of the North Korean Nuclear Issues and establishment of permanent peace, contribution to peace and prosperity across Northeast Asia and the world, and the realisation of a safer society that protects the safety and lives of citizens.

We were informed that the ministry has continuously introduced complementary measures for effective diplomacy such as the readjustment of power and budget befitting the changes in the diplomatic environment and the pursuit of substantial diplomacy to maximise the national interest of the Republic of Korea in the midst of a competitive international environment. We were taken to the Korea Press Foundation (KPF), which has shaped and led the history of press and journalism in Korea over the last five decades. KPF’s mission is to manage the crisis faced by Korean journalism and media industries to adapt to new media and information technologies.

During the visit, briefing provided an overview of the news media in Korea.

It was delivered by Director of the Media Research Centre Yongju Kim, who spoke about the background of KPF, Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2018 and News Media.

Afterwards we visited Lotte World Tower, one of Korea’s architectural crown jewels with 123 floors and 555m height.

I was amazed with the sophisticated and elegant construction, with modern urban image – it was one of the best experiences I had. We rode the Seoul Sky (123F) and had the opportunity to see a 360 degree view of Seoul.

Although the weather was a bit cloudy, I was mesmerised by the view. On the second day, we visited Joong Ang Media Group, Korea’s only comprehensive content group that includes Joong Ang Ilbo, the daily newspaper.

Joong Ang Ilbo is published in Seoul and one of the three biggest newspapers in South Korea.

The paper also publishes an English edition. They shared how work structures are distributed between the editors, senior journalists, young journalists, digital media and others.

We then headed to Museum Masterpiece Guide at National Museum of Korea which is 1.5km away from Yongsan Station.

It is the largest museum in Korea and houses precious Korean cultural assets that tell the story of Korea’s fascinating history from ancient times to the modern era.

It has galleries with a wide array of national and international pieces. The museum is the stage for a number of cultural activities related to collection, preservation, research and analysis, social training, academic publication, intercultural exchange programmes, concerts and others.

Our next stop was the Gyeonggi Centre for Creative Economy and Innovation. It was established in collaboration with the central government. Gyeonggi Province and Korea Telecom’s (KT) mission is to accelerate innovative start-ups and to become the Global Hub to promote start-ups to global markets with 17 other Innovation Centres in South Korea. We attended the ASEAN-Korea Global Media Day where several start-ups presented their products that can be marketed globally. This marked the conclusion of our second day in Korea.

The third day of the programme was another great experience –the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) Tour, and it will come in my follow-up feature. Annyeong!