기사 본문 영역

상세페이지

Cheonan Anniversary
입력 2013.03.26 (16:36) 수정 2013.03.26 (17:41) News Today
자동재생
동영상영역 시작
동영상영역 끝
[Anchor Lead]

Today marks the third anniversary of the sinking of the Cheonan warship by a North Korean submarine. Amid high tension on the peninsula, military officials visited frontline units to urge soldiers to be prepared for any emergency.

[Pkg]

Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin on Monday visited the memorial tower for the 46 marines who perished in the explosion of the South Korean corvette Cheonan. It was Kim's first official visit since he took office. Afterwards, the defense minister went to visit the Marine Corps and urged them to take strong actions against North Korea's provocations, such as the Cheonan incident.

[Soundbite] Kim Kwan-jin(National Defense Minister) : "Punish the enemy, its supporters and commanders by using the assets of the higher command."

The military has been closely monitoring the situation on the inter-Korean border as the North has been found to have opened its coastal cannons targeting the South’s Baekryeong Island on Monday. Air Force Chief of Staff Sung Il-hwan visited the 19th Fighter Wing on Monday and ordered it to destroy the enemy and its supporters if the enemy should attack again. Chief of Naval Operations Choi Yoon-hee for his part paid homage to the Cheonan marines at their cemetery. He said that the enemy always strikes from the sea and that punishing them harshly is the only way to pay respect to the marines that perished. The Navy held a large-scale drill today in the Yellow Sea involving frigates, patrol corvettes and guided-missile patrol boats.

2. Submarine Threat

[Anchor Lead]

North Korea's submarines remain a serious threat to South Korea. The South Korean military has been working to enhance its operational capabilities against the submarines. But it still has a long way to go.

[Pkg]

North Korea's 300-ton shark-class submarine infiltrated waters off of Gangneung, South Korea, in 1996. The North then sent an 80-ton submarine to Sokcho, South Korea, years later. North Korea is believed to have more than 40 small-sized submarines. North Korea also has bigger ones -- 22 Romeo-class submarines and three 3500-ton Golf II-class submarines. The South Korean military believes that North Korea operates some 70 submarines. Even though many of the North Korean submarines are old, they still pose a significant threat to South Korea, since they are capable of conducting infiltration missions and carrying mines and torpedoes. The South Korean Navy has significantly boosted its anti-submarine capabilities since the sinking of the Cheonan naval corvette three years ago. It deployed eight more P-3CK maritime patrol planes and installed a torpedo detector system on all naval vessels larger than patrol ships, which operate in the Yellow Sea. In the first half of this year, the Navy will complete the project to install underwater sonic sensors in an area measuring 160 kilometers along the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea. However, military experts say that the South Korean navy still has a long way to go, noting that a plan to replace aged sonar devices in 30 naval vessels with new ones was scrapped due to a lack of budget.

[Soundbite] An Gi-seok(Fmr. Admiral) : "Current measures have limits. The sonar devices of today were made and installed 32 years ago. Any measures to improve them are limited."

South Korea has 12 submarines, a far smaller number than North Korea. To make matters worse, one of the submarines has been completely excluded from operations for nearly two years in light of defects. Experts are pressing the South Korean government to devise measures to bolster the strength of the military's submarine force.

3. Another Nominee

[Anchor Lead]

The nominee for the head of the Fair Trade Commission, Han Man-soo, said he would not accept the post on Monday, following allegations of tax evasion. That brings the total number of high-level nominees who have backed away from the jobs under public pressure to six.

[Pkg]

Nominee for the chief of the Fair Trade Commission Han Man-soo voluntarily stepped down eleven days after being nominated by President Park Geun-hye. Han said in a statement that it is regrettable a controversy over his qualifications tainted the first days of the new government. A presidential official said that Han did not discuss his resignation with the presidential office in advance. He said that the presidential office began checking allegations surrounding the nominee for the trade watchdog chief on Friday and that some were confirmed to be true. Han has been embroiled in controversy over his previous career with a large law firm. He’s also been accused of evading income taxes and holding unreported bank accounts overseas. Many Fair Trade Commission officials are concerned about an operational vacuum in the organization, which should be promoting economic democratization, a key task of the new government.

[Soundbite] Fair Trade Commission Official(Voice Modified) : "It’s uncertain how long the vice chairman will lead the commission. Its projects should be seeing momentum in the initial stages, but have failed to do so."

Han's resignation raises the number of high-level government officials who’ve quit halfway to six.

4. Failed Appointments

[Anchor Lead]

Both ruling and opposition parties have blasted the presidential office's vetting system in the wake of Han’s announcement. Cheong Wa Dae has said that it is difficult to conduct proper checks into nominees due to time constraints.

[Pkg]

The ruling Saenuri Party once again blasted the president's personnel appointment process in an even harsher tone than when the vice justice minister nominee withdrew last week. They demanded that the presidential office review the vetting process and bear responsibility.

[Soundbite] Rep. Suh Byung-soo(Saenuri Party) : "Regardless of the facts, I apologize to the people as a responsible lawmaker of the ruling party."

The opposition Democratic United Party called the appointment flops a disaster and demanded an apology. It also claimed that there is a need to look into the allegations involving former FTC chief nominee Han Man-soo.

[Soundbite] Rep. Park Ki-choon(Democratic United Party) : "We urge the president to apologize and bear the responsibility for the failed appointments by replacing the officials."

Apparently, the Presidential Office was embarrassed by the recent series of high-profile appointment debacles. The office of the senior secretary for civil affairs had vetted Han, but explained that given the short amount of time allotted, it was realistically difficult to probe his overseas bank accounts. Another source also added that tracing cash flows, jewelry, and overseas accounts is difficult, since it is not an official investigation. He was sorry that the nominee himself had not thoroughly censored his conducts. Senior secretary for civil affairs Kwak Sang-do and other high-ranking presidential aides received certificates of appointment yesterday, one month after the inauguration. The presidential office said no discussion took place in regards to reprimanding the personnel vetting team.

5. Spring Snowstorms

[Anchor Lead]

The east coast of Gangwon Province has seen heavy snow three times this month alone. The unusual spring snowstorms have distressed farmers who are beginning their spring planting.

[Pkg]

White snow covers branches that are budding with new green sprouts. Time seems to have slipped back into winter. The owner of this fish drying facility with his dried pollack ready for shipping is sick of the frequent snow. The fish, which have been dampened by the weather, will need another ten days to dry.

[Soundbite] Im Byeong-cheol(Owner, Dried Pollock Farm) : "The pollock had all dried. They were yellow and pretty like this and ready for harvesting. But the weather isn’t helping."

Farmers are concerned about spring farming. The potatoes planted a little while ago are buried in snow and nearly frozen, even before budding. This farmer worries whether these baby lettuces can even take root. The snow and the plunging temperatures are contributing to expensive heating bills in the bionurseries and greenhouses. The Korea Meteorological Administration is forecasting that the spring cold snap will continue, and that the central region will see rain on the weekends. Farmers will need to take extra care of their crops.

6. Fitting In

[Anchor Lead]

The number of foreign brides in Korea has spiked in recent years, but such women often run into difficulties adjusting to life here. A series of programs are being put in place to remedy the situation, with varying degrees of success. Nowadays, employment training programs are growing popular.

[Pkg]

Immigrant women carefully give baby dolls baths. They are being trained to become helpers to new mothers.

[Soundbite] Mongolian Immigrant : "I'm getting trained because when my children grow up, it’ll help my life in Korea. I want to work and earn money."

English instructor courses are popular as well. Once the five-month program is completed, an immigrant can acquire a teaching certificate and work as an English instructor at a social organization. Nearly two hundred multicultural family support centers around the country run a total of 574 job training programs. With the employment training, there is a variety of fields one can pick to enter. One can become a nurse's aide or a nursing home assistant or even a computer instructor.

[Soundbite] Kim Mun-gang(Gimje Multicultural Family Support Center) : "Through the various employment and startup programs, they hope to be treated the same as Koreans and work as members of the community."

The number of female immigrants in Korea now stands at some 220 thousand. They hope the various employment programs can help them become valuable members in the Korean community.

7. Gangnam Rhythm

[Anchor Lead]

The global success of Psy's hit "Gangam Style" has Koreans of all stripes rushing to get in on the craze. Now, traditional musicians are claiming that an old Korean rhythm form the basis of the track.

[Pkg]

Hwimori is the only fastest, four-four time beat known among traditional Korean rhythms. A musician plays "Gangam Style" in "hwimori" beat with the traditional Korean drum "Janggu."

[Soundbite] Sin Chan-seon(Traditional Korean Musician) : "The structure of the song sounds like hwimori combined with a new rhythm."

With lyrics removed, the melody of the hit song is played in hwimori rhythm. The adapted version is compared with the original song. The lengths of the sounds and rhythm waveforms are almost identical.

[Soundbite] Prof. Park Sang-jin(Dongguk University) : "The song writer may have unknowingly expressed traditional feelings preserved in his DNA in the song."

"Gangam Style" has been categorized as electronic music, now the current mainstream of pop music. Analysts say that the modern song has a traditional Korean musical feature.

8. K-Wave Cosmetics

[Anchor Lead]

The relentless government quest to promote Korean culture and products abroad has now turned its focus to the domestic cosmetics industry, which is experiencing a boom.

[Pkg]

Regardless of time or place, women have always been in pursuit of beauty.

[Soundbite] Ji Seon-a(College Student) : "I spend about 30-40% of my allowance on it."

Now men have joined the pursuit.

[Soundbite] Jo Geun-hyeong(Graduate Student) : "I regularly get perms and buy cosmetics. "

The cosmetics industry has long been immune to the bad economy, and now, Korea's beauty products are making inroads into overseas markets. Korean cosmetics attract foreign consumers with their wide-ranging prices and unique substances, such as the cutting-edge, 5,400-dollar customized stem cell skin care product.

[Soundbite] Lee Hyeong-gyu(CEO, Korean Herbal Cosmetics Company) : "We help the Hallyu with products featuring Korean culture, functions and effectiveness."

The central and local governments are working together to help the beauty industry. A case in point is the world's largest fair on cosmetics and beauty products slated for May and sponsored by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and the provincial government of North Chungcheong.

[Soundbite] Prof. Kim Seong-nam(Seokyeong University) : "Even the government is interested in how we train beauty professionals and set up curriculums."

The global cosmetics market amounts to 243.8 billion dollars, that’s 1.5 times larger than the semiconductor market. It is a convincing sign that K-beauty, or Korean beauty care products, has the potential to become one of the nation's new growth engines.

9. Hongdae Heaven

[Anchor Lead]

Seoul neighborhoods like Itaewon, Gangnam and Myeongdong are staple stops for tourists to the city. But more and more attention is turning to the source of Korea’s alternative music scene – Hongdae. The area has long been a favorite among young locals for its artistic flair.

[Pkg]

More than 100,000 passengers arrive and depart from Incheon International Airport every day. Roman, from France, arrived on March 10. He says it's his first time in Korea. Many travelers begin their trip by taking the airport railroad from Incheon to the capital, Seoul. Roman's first destination is Hongik University Station. Roman says he learned about the place in his French guide book. In Korean, the station is called Hongdae Ipgu, which means “the entrance to Hongik University." The neighborhood surrounding the campus is called Hongdae. Another reason Roman picked it as his first stop is that it’s easy to get to, being right on the airport line.

[Soundbite] Roman(French Visitor)

It takes about 50 minutes from the airport to Hongdae. During the ride, Roman looks up information about the area, which is famous for indie rock groups and street performances. The airport railroad opened in 2010. It is seeing more and more international passengers because it's not affected by traffic jams and it costs less than the airport buses to get to the city. Another reason why Hongdae Ipku is popular among tourists is that you can transfer to subway line number two, which runs a circular route around the entire city. Travelers can also get information at the Mapo Tourist Information Center that opened here last year. But the biggest attraction of the Hongdae area is the vibrant youthful atmosphere.

[Soundbite] Roman(French Visitor)

Globally renowned travel books on Korea introduce Hongdae as a haven of nightlife, a great place for young people get together and have fun. One of the biggest attractions is the street performances by independent bands on weekends. If you're a Korean Wave or K-pop fan, there's no better place to see young Koreans sing and dance than Hongdae.

[Soundbite] Wosh(American Visitor)

Businesses in the area are happy to see more and more travelers flocking to the place. Accommodation facilities are particularly pleased. Two new hotels opened early this year and four more are to be built.

[Soundbite] Seong Tae-mo(Hotel Employee) : "Since the launch of the airport railroad in 2010, we’re seeing more foreign tourists. The majority of our guests, about 80 percent, are tourists from abroad."

Visitors also say the unique cultural experience the neighborhood offers, beyond just shopping, makes it a great destination. If you are not a big fan of business hotels, there are also guesthouses. The Mapo-gu Office says there are more than 100 guesthouses operating in the area, which is more than double Myeongdong, another popular tourist site in Seoul.

[Soundbite] Ogawa(Japanese Visitor) : "I like it because unlike hotels, you can have breakfast at any time you like."

These facilities are popular among young travelers. It costs only about 18 to 27 U.S. dollars for a night at a guesthouse including breakfast. Guesthouses are great places to make new friends from other countries as well.

[Soundbite] Lee Ji-hyeong(Owner, Guesthouse) : "Some come to just travel and some come to study at Korean language institutes. Some come to have fun at clubs and experience the culture of young Koreans. More guesthouses have opened along with the increase in demand."

Because of its unique local culture, Hongdae is drawing more and more visitors from abroad who have come to experience Korean culture. Officials say they’re doing their best to keep the neighborhood safe so travelers can have a enjoyable and memorable time in Hongdae.
  • Cheonan Anniversary
    • 입력 2013-03-26 15:15:53
    • 수정2013-03-26 17:41:07
    News Today
[Anchor Lead]

Today marks the third anniversary of the sinking of the Cheonan warship by a North Korean submarine. Amid high tension on the peninsula, military officials visited frontline units to urge soldiers to be prepared for any emergency.

[Pkg]

Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin on Monday visited the memorial tower for the 46 marines who perished in the explosion of the South Korean corvette Cheonan. It was Kim's first official visit since he took office. Afterwards, the defense minister went to visit the Marine Corps and urged them to take strong actions against North Korea's provocations, such as the Cheonan incident.

[Soundbite] Kim Kwan-jin(National Defense Minister) : "Punish the enemy, its supporters and commanders by using the assets of the higher command."

The military has been closely monitoring the situation on the inter-Korean border as the North has been found to have opened its coastal cannons targeting the South’s Baekryeong Island on Monday. Air Force Chief of Staff Sung Il-hwan visited the 19th Fighter Wing on Monday and ordered it to destroy the enemy and its supporters if the enemy should attack again. Chief of Naval Operations Choi Yoon-hee for his part paid homage to the Cheonan marines at their cemetery. He said that the enemy always strikes from the sea and that punishing them harshly is the only way to pay respect to the marines that perished. The Navy held a large-scale drill today in the Yellow Sea involving frigates, patrol corvettes and guided-missile patrol boats.

2. Submarine Threat

[Anchor Lead]

North Korea's submarines remain a serious threat to South Korea. The South Korean military has been working to enhance its operational capabilities against the submarines. But it still has a long way to go.

[Pkg]

North Korea's 300-ton shark-class submarine infiltrated waters off of Gangneung, South Korea, in 1996. The North then sent an 80-ton submarine to Sokcho, South Korea, years later. North Korea is believed to have more than 40 small-sized submarines. North Korea also has bigger ones -- 22 Romeo-class submarines and three 3500-ton Golf II-class submarines. The South Korean military believes that North Korea operates some 70 submarines. Even though many of the North Korean submarines are old, they still pose a significant threat to South Korea, since they are capable of conducting infiltration missions and carrying mines and torpedoes. The South Korean Navy has significantly boosted its anti-submarine capabilities since the sinking of the Cheonan naval corvette three years ago. It deployed eight more P-3CK maritime patrol planes and installed a torpedo detector system on all naval vessels larger than patrol ships, which operate in the Yellow Sea. In the first half of this year, the Navy will complete the project to install underwater sonic sensors in an area measuring 160 kilometers along the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea. However, military experts say that the South Korean navy still has a long way to go, noting that a plan to replace aged sonar devices in 30 naval vessels with new ones was scrapped due to a lack of budget.

[Soundbite] An Gi-seok(Fmr. Admiral) : "Current measures have limits. The sonar devices of today were made and installed 32 years ago. Any measures to improve them are limited."

South Korea has 12 submarines, a far smaller number than North Korea. To make matters worse, one of the submarines has been completely excluded from operations for nearly two years in light of defects. Experts are pressing the South Korean government to devise measures to bolster the strength of the military's submarine force.

3. Another Nominee

[Anchor Lead]

The nominee for the head of the Fair Trade Commission, Han Man-soo, said he would not accept the post on Monday, following allegations of tax evasion. That brings the total number of high-level nominees who have backed away from the jobs under public pressure to six.

[Pkg]

Nominee for the chief of the Fair Trade Commission Han Man-soo voluntarily stepped down eleven days after being nominated by President Park Geun-hye. Han said in a statement that it is regrettable a controversy over his qualifications tainted the first days of the new government. A presidential official said that Han did not discuss his resignation with the presidential office in advance. He said that the presidential office began checking allegations surrounding the nominee for the trade watchdog chief on Friday and that some were confirmed to be true. Han has been embroiled in controversy over his previous career with a large law firm. He’s also been accused of evading income taxes and holding unreported bank accounts overseas. Many Fair Trade Commission officials are concerned about an operational vacuum in the organization, which should be promoting economic democratization, a key task of the new government.

[Soundbite] Fair Trade Commission Official(Voice Modified) : "It’s uncertain how long the vice chairman will lead the commission. Its projects should be seeing momentum in the initial stages, but have failed to do so."

Han's resignation raises the number of high-level government officials who’ve quit halfway to six.

4. Failed Appointments

[Anchor Lead]

Both ruling and opposition parties have blasted the presidential office's vetting system in the wake of Han’s announcement. Cheong Wa Dae has said that it is difficult to conduct proper checks into nominees due to time constraints.

[Pkg]

The ruling Saenuri Party once again blasted the president's personnel appointment process in an even harsher tone than when the vice justice minister nominee withdrew last week. They demanded that the presidential office review the vetting process and bear responsibility.

[Soundbite] Rep. Suh Byung-soo(Saenuri Party) : "Regardless of the facts, I apologize to the people as a responsible lawmaker of the ruling party."

The opposition Democratic United Party called the appointment flops a disaster and demanded an apology. It also claimed that there is a need to look into the allegations involving former FTC chief nominee Han Man-soo.

[Soundbite] Rep. Park Ki-choon(Democratic United Party) : "We urge the president to apologize and bear the responsibility for the failed appointments by replacing the officials."

Apparently, the Presidential Office was embarrassed by the recent series of high-profile appointment debacles. The office of the senior secretary for civil affairs had vetted Han, but explained that given the short amount of time allotted, it was realistically difficult to probe his overseas bank accounts. Another source also added that tracing cash flows, jewelry, and overseas accounts is difficult, since it is not an official investigation. He was sorry that the nominee himself had not thoroughly censored his conducts. Senior secretary for civil affairs Kwak Sang-do and other high-ranking presidential aides received certificates of appointment yesterday, one month after the inauguration. The presidential office said no discussion took place in regards to reprimanding the personnel vetting team.

5. Spring Snowstorms

[Anchor Lead]

The east coast of Gangwon Province has seen heavy snow three times this month alone. The unusual spring snowstorms have distressed farmers who are beginning their spring planting.

[Pkg]

White snow covers branches that are budding with new green sprouts. Time seems to have slipped back into winter. The owner of this fish drying facility with his dried pollack ready for shipping is sick of the frequent snow. The fish, which have been dampened by the weather, will need another ten days to dry.

[Soundbite] Im Byeong-cheol(Owner, Dried Pollock Farm) : "The pollock had all dried. They were yellow and pretty like this and ready for harvesting. But the weather isn’t helping."

Farmers are concerned about spring farming. The potatoes planted a little while ago are buried in snow and nearly frozen, even before budding. This farmer worries whether these baby lettuces can even take root. The snow and the plunging temperatures are contributing to expensive heating bills in the bionurseries and greenhouses. The Korea Meteorological Administration is forecasting that the spring cold snap will continue, and that the central region will see rain on the weekends. Farmers will need to take extra care of their crops.

6. Fitting In

[Anchor Lead]

The number of foreign brides in Korea has spiked in recent years, but such women often run into difficulties adjusting to life here. A series of programs are being put in place to remedy the situation, with varying degrees of success. Nowadays, employment training programs are growing popular.

[Pkg]

Immigrant women carefully give baby dolls baths. They are being trained to become helpers to new mothers.

[Soundbite] Mongolian Immigrant : "I'm getting trained because when my children grow up, it’ll help my life in Korea. I want to work and earn money."

English instructor courses are popular as well. Once the five-month program is completed, an immigrant can acquire a teaching certificate and work as an English instructor at a social organization. Nearly two hundred multicultural family support centers around the country run a total of 574 job training programs. With the employment training, there is a variety of fields one can pick to enter. One can become a nurse's aide or a nursing home assistant or even a computer instructor.

[Soundbite] Kim Mun-gang(Gimje Multicultural Family Support Center) : "Through the various employment and startup programs, they hope to be treated the same as Koreans and work as members of the community."

The number of female immigrants in Korea now stands at some 220 thousand. They hope the various employment programs can help them become valuable members in the Korean community.

7. Gangnam Rhythm

[Anchor Lead]

The global success of Psy's hit "Gangam Style" has Koreans of all stripes rushing to get in on the craze. Now, traditional musicians are claiming that an old Korean rhythm form the basis of the track.

[Pkg]

Hwimori is the only fastest, four-four time beat known among traditional Korean rhythms. A musician plays "Gangam Style" in "hwimori" beat with the traditional Korean drum "Janggu."

[Soundbite] Sin Chan-seon(Traditional Korean Musician) : "The structure of the song sounds like hwimori combined with a new rhythm."

With lyrics removed, the melody of the hit song is played in hwimori rhythm. The adapted version is compared with the original song. The lengths of the sounds and rhythm waveforms are almost identical.

[Soundbite] Prof. Park Sang-jin(Dongguk University) : "The song writer may have unknowingly expressed traditional feelings preserved in his DNA in the song."

"Gangam Style" has been categorized as electronic music, now the current mainstream of pop music. Analysts say that the modern song has a traditional Korean musical feature.

8. K-Wave Cosmetics

[Anchor Lead]

The relentless government quest to promote Korean culture and products abroad has now turned its focus to the domestic cosmetics industry, which is experiencing a boom.

[Pkg]

Regardless of time or place, women have always been in pursuit of beauty.

[Soundbite] Ji Seon-a(College Student) : "I spend about 30-40% of my allowance on it."

Now men have joined the pursuit.

[Soundbite] Jo Geun-hyeong(Graduate Student) : "I regularly get perms and buy cosmetics. "

The cosmetics industry has long been immune to the bad economy, and now, Korea's beauty products are making inroads into overseas markets. Korean cosmetics attract foreign consumers with their wide-ranging prices and unique substances, such as the cutting-edge, 5,400-dollar customized stem cell skin care product.

[Soundbite] Lee Hyeong-gyu(CEO, Korean Herbal Cosmetics Company) : "We help the Hallyu with products featuring Korean culture, functions and effectiveness."

The central and local governments are working together to help the beauty industry. A case in point is the world's largest fair on cosmetics and beauty products slated for May and sponsored by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and the provincial government of North Chungcheong.

[Soundbite] Prof. Kim Seong-nam(Seokyeong University) : "Even the government is interested in how we train beauty professionals and set up curriculums."

The global cosmetics market amounts to 243.8 billion dollars, that’s 1.5 times larger than the semiconductor market. It is a convincing sign that K-beauty, or Korean beauty care products, has the potential to become one of the nation's new growth engines.

9. Hongdae Heaven

[Anchor Lead]

Seoul neighborhoods like Itaewon, Gangnam and Myeongdong are staple stops for tourists to the city. But more and more attention is turning to the source of Korea’s alternative music scene – Hongdae. The area has long been a favorite among young locals for its artistic flair.

[Pkg]

More than 100,000 passengers arrive and depart from Incheon International Airport every day. Roman, from France, arrived on March 10. He says it's his first time in Korea. Many travelers begin their trip by taking the airport railroad from Incheon to the capital, Seoul. Roman's first destination is Hongik University Station. Roman says he learned about the place in his French guide book. In Korean, the station is called Hongdae Ipgu, which means “the entrance to Hongik University." The neighborhood surrounding the campus is called Hongdae. Another reason Roman picked it as his first stop is that it’s easy to get to, being right on the airport line.

[Soundbite] Roman(French Visitor)

It takes about 50 minutes from the airport to Hongdae. During the ride, Roman looks up information about the area, which is famous for indie rock groups and street performances. The airport railroad opened in 2010. It is seeing more and more international passengers because it's not affected by traffic jams and it costs less than the airport buses to get to the city. Another reason why Hongdae Ipku is popular among tourists is that you can transfer to subway line number two, which runs a circular route around the entire city. Travelers can also get information at the Mapo Tourist Information Center that opened here last year. But the biggest attraction of the Hongdae area is the vibrant youthful atmosphere.

[Soundbite] Roman(French Visitor)

Globally renowned travel books on Korea introduce Hongdae as a haven of nightlife, a great place for young people get together and have fun. One of the biggest attractions is the street performances by independent bands on weekends. If you're a Korean Wave or K-pop fan, there's no better place to see young Koreans sing and dance than Hongdae.

[Soundbite] Wosh(American Visitor)

Businesses in the area are happy to see more and more travelers flocking to the place. Accommodation facilities are particularly pleased. Two new hotels opened early this year and four more are to be built.

[Soundbite] Seong Tae-mo(Hotel Employee) : "Since the launch of the airport railroad in 2010, we’re seeing more foreign tourists. The majority of our guests, about 80 percent, are tourists from abroad."

Visitors also say the unique cultural experience the neighborhood offers, beyond just shopping, makes it a great destination. If you are not a big fan of business hotels, there are also guesthouses. The Mapo-gu Office says there are more than 100 guesthouses operating in the area, which is more than double Myeongdong, another popular tourist site in Seoul.

[Soundbite] Ogawa(Japanese Visitor) : "I like it because unlike hotels, you can have breakfast at any time you like."

These facilities are popular among young travelers. It costs only about 18 to 27 U.S. dollars for a night at a guesthouse including breakfast. Guesthouses are great places to make new friends from other countries as well.

[Soundbite] Lee Ji-hyeong(Owner, Guesthouse) : "Some come to just travel and some come to study at Korean language institutes. Some come to have fun at clubs and experience the culture of young Koreans. More guesthouses have opened along with the increase in demand."

Because of its unique local culture, Hongdae is drawing more and more visitors from abroad who have come to experience Korean culture. Officials say they’re doing their best to keep the neighborhood safe so travelers can have a enjoyable and memorable time in Hongdae.
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