|Kim Yong-sam, first vice minister of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, announces the ministry's annual operational plan focusing on peace, tolerance, fairness and innovation at the government complex in Seoul, Monday. Yonhap|
Culture ministry pursues peace, tolerance, fairness and innovation in 2019
By Kwon Mee-yoo
"We should uphold and develop the peace mood between the two Koreas although no agreement was reached during the second North Korea-United States Hanoi Summit in February. In doing so, the role of culture will be inevitable," Kim Yong-sam, first vice minister of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism (MCST), said during a press conference announcing the ministry's annual plan, Monday.
The ministry unveiled a plan to make South Korea "a cultural country for everyone" setting aside a 5.29 trillion won ($4.6 billion) budget, the highest amount ever allocated since the ministry was established.
Its 2019 plan consists of four keywords ― peace, tolerance, fairness and innovation.
Peace refers to inter-Korean relations. To boost exchanges between Seoul and Pyongyang, the ministry will work to organize a joint team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and a joint bid to host the 2032 Olympic Games.
"We will start joint practice of unified teams in women's basketball, women's hockey, rowing and judo and they will compete in the preliminary rounds as a joint team to earn tickets to the Olympics," Kim said.
The ministry also plans to invite the North Korean squad to the 2019 World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju in July and hold friendly matches in basketball and ssireum (Korean wrestling) in commemoration of the first anniversary of the inter-Korean summit. The South Korea-based World Taekwondo (WT) and North Korea-based International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) will continue to work on the integration process.
The ministry hopes to hold a performance by a North Korean art troupe in South Korea, which was originally planned for last autumn but fell through.
The ministry will pursue exchanges in cultural heritage and language fields as well, including joint excavations of historic remains such as Manwoldae in Kaesong, North Korea and the Cheorwon Castle from the Taebong Kingdom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). If the political and diplomatic situation gets better, the MCST plans to resume tourist programs including trip to Mount Geumgang.
"As more people pursue a balance of work and life, more people are enjoying culture in their lives. We will introduce new technologies and improve unfair practices in the cultural field and content industry for continuous development," the vice minister said.
Tolerance includes a variety of support for everyone to enjoy cultural experiences. The ministry will provide scholarships for 2,300 student athletes from the low-income bracket and establish 30 Bandabi Sports Centers for the disabled.
In addition to the tax exemption for book, stage performance and concert ticket purchases introduced last year, entrance fees for museums can also be deducted from income tax.
Every last Friday of the month is designated as "Late Night Bookstore" day to support small independent bookshops.
The MCST plans to enact laws for the rights and status of artists and a fair distribution environment within the culture industry to promote fairness. The ministry will also launch a loan system for a stability fund for artists. To eradicate corruption in the sports field, the ministry plans to establish a Sports Ethics Center.
The MCST also supports the technology industry. With its long-term plan for fostering tangible content such as AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality). Rare cultural heritage such as a mural from Goguryeo tomb dating back to the 6th century will be used for VR content and become available for the public to experience at national museums.