He said that his country aims to create an Indonesia Wave (I-Wave) by cooperating with South Korea in various entertainment sectors such as fashion, music, games and animation.
"I think I am not mistaken. In my note, Indonesia has the second biggest BTS ARMY in the world," the ambassador told reporters during the briefing he hosted to highlight Indonesia's chairmanship in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with South Korea.
He added that seven memorandums of understanding (MOUs) were signed to nurture the Indonesian Wave. One of the MOUs is a partnership agreement between an Indonesian university and the Seoul Institute of the Arts, a famous art institution attended by many celebrities such as actress Son Ye-jin who starred in 2019 drama "Crash Landing on You." The drama garnered explosive popularity in Asian countries.
"At that time, I was also able to meet with Lee Soo-man. We discussed almost for three hours," the ambassador said, adding that he hopes Lee, who is currently in a legal battle against SM Entertainment's executive boards, solves the problem quickly and continue to invest in Indonesia.
SM's founder Lee unveiled his scheme to create "Hollywood of Asia" at a 2017 business summit in Jakarta, as well as business plans in Indonesia such as hosting auditions to recruit talented Indonesian members.
Through the event, the Indonesian Embassy in Seoul will promote the Southeast Asian country's soft power including music, movie, and food culture. The counselor said the embassy is considering inviting Raffi Ahmad and Nagita Slavina, an Indonesian celebrity couple with more than 67 million followers on Instagram.
The usage of K-pop-related keywords on Twitter skyrocketed to more than 6 billion in 2020 from about 5.09 million in 2010. Indonesia ranked first in terms of the usage of K-pop keywords on the social media platform, followed by Thailand.
Asked about the fate of a joint KF-21 fighter jet development project, Amb. Sulistiyanto said that Indonesia will continue to participate in the project as the problem with the financial contribution was resolved last year.
The project hit a snag because Indonesia had failed to pay 800 billion won ($615 million), part of its 20 percent share of the total development costs of 8.8 trillion won ($6.7 billion), since 2017. But Indonesia resumed the payment last November.
The two countries started the project in 2010 after signing a deal to develop an advanced multirole fighter jet. Under the deal, Indonesia committed to pay about 1.7 trillion won by 2026 in exchange for a number of fighter planes to be manufactured in the Southeast Asian country with technology transfers.
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