Korea Opens First Cultural Center in Mexico

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Korea opened its first Korean Cultural Center in Mexico Tuesday, hoping it will serve as a bridge between the two different cultures.

The three-story building located in the center of Mexico City features a library, two exhibition halls, rooms for learning Korean language and traditional Korean music, an audiovisual room and a multipurpose hall, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The opening ceremony was held at the center with about 200 dignitaries from both countries, including Korea's Culture Minister Choe Kwang-shik and Korean residents in Mexico, in attendance, the ministry said.

It is South Korea's 23rd cultural center worldwide and the fourth in North America, the ministry said.

The ministry has said it will open five more cultural centers in India, Belgium, Thailand, Brazil and Egypt by the end of this year as the recent popularity of Korean pop music and TV dramas, known as "hallyu," has increased world interest in Korean culture.

The boom has been strong mainly in other Asian nations such as Japan, China and Taiwan in recent years but became popular in Europe and American nations in 2011.

"There are already more than 30,000 fans of Korean pop culture in Mexico City. We expect the Korean cultural center there will combine forces with them to spread K-pop to all over the country and play a role as a bridge between the two cultures," the ministry said in a release.

Korean forged diplomatic ties with Mexico in 1962. The two countries are scheduled to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ties this year with various events in such fields as the economy, culture, academy and sports.