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Culture ministry seeks to turn Cheong Wa Dae into cultural complex

All News 13:00 July 21, 2022

SEOUL, July 21 (Yonhap) -- The culture ministry said Thursday it will push for transforming the former presidential home of Cheong Wa Dae in central Seoul into a multipurpose cultural complex.

Park Bo-gyoon, minister of culture, sports and tourism, reported the project to President Yoon Suk-yeol at his office as part of the ministry's major work plans.

It marks the first time a government office has released a detailed plan to use the historical facility since it was opened to public access in May.

There have been calls from some cultural heritage experts that the site should be preserved well as a cultural heritage site rather than a tourist destination.

Cheong Wa Dae had been the presidential office and residence for the past 74 years before Yoon relocated the top office to the former defense ministry building in Yongsan in central Seoul. During the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), it was used as the rear garden of Gyeongbok Palace, a main royal palace.

Park Bo-gyoon, minister of culture, sports and tourism, speaks during a press briefing on the ministry's work plans at the government building in central Seoul on July 20, 2022. (Yonhap)

Under the plan, the culture ministry plans to use the facility for multiple purposes as an art museum, a presidential memorial hall and an arboretum, making full use of over 600 artworks, traces of former presidents who lived there, and about 50,000 trees and some cultural assets in the compound.

"The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will take the lead in the second stage, following the opening of Cheong Wa Dae in the first stage," Park said of the plan during a press briefing held at the government building in central Seoul on Wednesday.

He stressed the government will make it "a living Cheong Wa Dae" where many cultural events can take place rather than maintaining it in its "static form."

The government will also work with experts to devise ways to use it as exhibition space without hurting its value as a cultural heritage site so this project can become a role model of civilian-government cooperation, the minister said.

He also unveiled a plan to create a fund worth 40 billion won (US$30.4 million) to help homegrown streaming services create more original series so they can get an upper hand in the increasingly competitive global streaming market.


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