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Despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has blown away cultural and creative sectors, the minister of cultures Korea, China or Japan has made a declaration asking for cultural interactions between the three nations.

Since 2007, a three-way meeting has been held annually between the culture ministers of these three countries. The event was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. On Monday, the three ministers met via video conferencing.

The Kitakyushu Declaration, which was approved at an online ministerial meeting states that these three Asian countries will strengthen their collaboration among state-funded cultural institutions and museums.

The ministers agreed to work together to protect their cultural content copyrights and to collaborate in developing the technology required for content creation and distribution.

In addition, the declaration also calls for joint arts and cultural events during the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing.

The cities, Gyeongyu in Korea, Oita in Japan and Jinan and Wenzhou in China were selected as the “Culture Cities of Eastern Asia 2022,” to host a variety of artistic and cultural events during their meeting which would aim to increase inter-country relations.

As the pandemic has caused stagnation in the field of tourism, three ministers explored strategies of reactivating tourism safely and progressively. They also underlined the necessity of protecting cultural treasures tangible and immaterial.

“At the conference, despite the COVID-19 situation, we reiterated the necessity of collaboration in the artistic spheres. If Korea, China and Japan jointly pursue cultural expansion in East Asia, in the post-pandemic period, we can establish a solid basis for cultural wealth.” The South Korean Minister of Culture Hwang Hee remarked.

However, this trilateral meeting did not deal with sensitive issues, such as infringement of cultural content or historical distortions.It should also be noted that tensions between Japan and Korea have been escalating over the history of forced labour on Hashima Ile (Battleship Island) which is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO coupled with the territorial claims by Japan to Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo.

Korea is also having a spat with China over kimchi and hanbok (traditional Korean dress) after certain Chinese citizens claimed it as theirs. As a result, the younger generation in Korea has developed anti-China sentiment.Nonetheless, the anniversary of the cultural exchange between ROK and China is marked between 2021 and 2022.

Team Eastern Interest
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