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H.E. Choi Jong Kun,
1st Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Republic of Korea


As the new year begins, it is heartening to hear that the second series of ASEAN • Korea Music Festival will be hosted. On behalf of the Korean government, I congratulate all who have contributed throughout the process and made <ROUND 2021> possible.

Music is the language of hope and healing. Even in the midst of the pandemic, the previous <ROUND 2020> has connected the people in Asia and beyond through music. The festival has shown that by utilizing digital technologies, talented artists in ASEAN and the ROK can still move the hearts and minds of the audience, wherever they may be watching from.

The theme for this year, 'Hello to New Normal' symbolizes that there is still much we can do inspite of COVID-19. Indeed, consistently pursuing the New Southern Policy(NSP) for the 6th year now, the Korean government is taking steps towards a more resilient future with ASEAN under the 7 initiatives of the New Southern Policy Plus(NSPP). <ROUND 2021> is also a part of this journey by "fostering mutual understanding through the promotion of two-way cultural exchanges," as envisioned in one of the seven initiatives.

The promotion of culture to bring ASEAN and ROK closer is also reflected as a priority area for the ASEAN-ROK Cooperation Fund(AKCF). By expanding various platforms that enables more online and offline participatory activities, we will utilize the AKCF so that the youths and young professionals of both sides may have more opportunities for mutual engagement and interactions.

<ROUND 2021> is one of the earliest ASEAN-ROK related activities for 2022. I hope that the energy and the sense of togetherness from the festival will unroll into other areas, helping us draw closer to the vision of a people centered community of peace and prosperity in the region.