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Government adopts new strategy to boost national image

K-Info Hub, a digital platform providing information on Korea, to be launched in 2027

May 28, 2024 - 15:58 By Park Ga-young

A video featuring singer/actor Bae Suzy, wearing hanbok on Dec. 24, 2023 is shown on an electronic billboard at New York's Times Square. The video promotion was part of the Hanbok Wave project, a campaign aimed to promote traditional Korean dress overseas. (Korea Craft & Design Foundation)

The South Korean government is adopting a new four-year plan aimed at enhancing Korea's perception abroad.

The comprehensive plan considers the rapid advances in digital technology as well as the country's world standing, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced Tuesday.

The ministry will implement three major strategies with 11 key initiatives from 2024 to 2027. Central to these strategies is the integration of messages directed overseas, making Korea-related information more credible, user-friendly and interactive, and expanding cooperation with non-traditional channels, according to the ministry.

While the UN Conference on Trade and Development's categorization of South Korea as a developed country in July 2021 has changed the country's global standing, overseas promotions have failed to show the overarching values or national image that South Korea aims to project, noted Yong Ho-seong, deputy minister for International Cultural Affairs and Public Relations Office, during a press conference Monday at the Government Complex in Seoul.

The Culture Ministry launched the International Cultural Affairs and Public Relations Office in February to boost Korea's cultural presence and influence on the global stage.

Yong Ho-seong (first from right), deputy minister for International Cultural Affairs and Public Relations Office, during a press conference on May 23 held at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, in Seoul. (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)

The new overarching message for the overseas audience will be based on the vision, "A Global Pivotal State in Partnership with the World,” and six data-based supporting keywords — innovative, creative, friendly, trustworthy, growing and safe — the ministry said.

The ministry will support the free flow of credible information on South Korea by leveraging artificial intelligence technology for media content generation and monitoring. To provide credible and accurate information, K-Info Hub will be launched. The platform, which will include intelligent search and automatic translation services, will gather and present data from authoritative sources to ensure global audiences receive reliable information on Korea's history, culture and current affairs.

At the same time, the ministry will continue efforts to correct inaccurate or outdated information.

“Investigating the current state is crucial, and we have begun initial surveys. For example, determining which topics related to Korea are most frequently searched on Wikipedia will guide us in identifying which information needs updating. This investigation will cover not just online media but also traditional channels like textbooks and guidebooks,” Yong noted.

The ministry will eliminate the time gap in the information provided to domestic and foreign media, a long-standing source of contention among the international press here. Through inter-departmental cooperation, information will be provided in a synchronized manner. Influencers and digital journalists will also be utilized.

Expanding its traditional channels of global network beyond diplomats and traditional foreign media, the ministry will support immigrants, foreign workers and students to act as effective ambassadors.

“Despite the significant role these groups play as bridges between Korea and their home countries, disseminating information about Korea, we have found that they often lack systematic access to accurate information. This gap leads to the spread of distorted information about Korea,” Yong added.

To tackle this problem, he added that "We plan to provide reference materials on various aspects of living in Korea, including historical, economic, and social information, to help them become proactive and positive ambassadors of Korea."