South Korea holds culture festival with Japan amid soured ties

South Korean and Japanese citizens pose for a picture during the Korea-Japan Culture Festival 2019 in Seoul on Sept. 1, 2019. (Yonhap)

South Korean and Japanese citizens pose for a picture during the Korea-Japan Culture Festival 2019 in Seoul on Sept. 1, 2019. (Yonhap)

Seoul: Unabated by escalating diplomatic and trade rows, South Korean and Japanese citizens gathered in Seoul on Sunday to take part in an annual festival designed to share their cultures and facilitate exchanges.

The 15th Korea-Japan Culture Festival 2019 was held at the Convention and Exhibition Center (COEX) in southern Seoul, where visitors had the chance to participate in diverse programs, such as enjoying traditional attire and games.

The event came as bilateral relations have plummeted to the lowest ebb in years following Japan’s export restrictions on South Korea in July in apparent retaliation against Seoul’s top court ruling last year on wartime forced labor.

One of the major festivals between the two neighbors, this annual event was first launched in 2005 and has served as a venue to facilitate their interaction and cultural exchanges. The same festival has taken place in Japan since 2009.

Following Japan’s trade restrictions, South Korea has come up with several measures in response, such as its decision to terminate an intelligence-sharing pact with Tokyo. Citizens, for their part, have launched a boycott campaign against trips to Japan, as well as against Japanese products.

But there have been growing voices for continuing their exchanges. Last week, South Korean, Japanese and Chinese culture ministers signed the “Incheon Declaration” to present their 10-year vision for trilateral cooperation on the culture front.

YONHAP

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