[MHN] Officially taking office on Wednesday, Minister of Culture Park Yang-woo pledged efforts to further promote the Korean Wave and increase cultural exchanges with North Korea.
"I have come home after leaving it 11 years and one month ago. Seeing you once again, I am full of emotions," the minister said in his inauguration ceremony.
Having served as a vice minister from 2006 to 2008, Park has returned to the ministry where he started his government career and built 30 years of expertise in culture policy.
The incoming minister named further expansion of both inter-Korean cultural exchange and the Korean Wave, or the global popularity of Korean culture, as challenges the ministry should tackle.
"As of 2017, the size of the giant culture industry reached 110 trillion won (US$97 billion) while those of the sports and tourism industries grew to reach 75 trillion and 26 trillion, respectively," he said.
"It wouldn't be too much to say at least 20 percent of last year's total exports worth 605.5 billion won was thanks to hallyu ... including cosmetics and electronics," he said, referring to the Korean Wave.
Park cited the preservation of the Korean language, the establishment of a pan-governmental system to promote hallyu, job creation in the culture, sports and tourism sectors and increased cultural, sports and religious exchanges with North Korea as some of the top priorities he will pursue in office.
Park replaces Do Jong-hwan, a poet and a sitting lawmaker, as the minister of culture, sports and tourism.