PETALING JAYA: The “Korean Wave” landed and conquered with megastars appearing live, led by the South Korean head of state, to the delight of the huge cheering crowd.
Though K-pop band NCT Dream and actress Ha Ji-won did not perform, their presence was enough to provide the thrills at the 1 Utama shopping mall with screams ringing across the mall, so much that at one point, the emcee had to plead with the fans to keep their “volume” down.
NCT Dream is known for its hit number Chewing Gum, while Ha is famous for her roles in period dramas such as Empress Ki and romantic comedy shows such as Secret Garden.
It was an extra memorable day for 100 people among the crowd who were specially selected for a fan-signing event after the official launch of the K-Wave and halal show held there yesterday to mark President Moon Jae-in’s state visit to Malaysia.
The pop culture sensations also posed for pictures with Moon and First Lady Kim Jung-sook.
The special local guests, who included songstress Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza and National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Malaysia president Tan Sri Ter Leong Yap, then tossed a large bowl of halal bibimbap (Korean rice dish) to mark the special occasion.
Moon, who arrived at 12.40pm, said he wanted to forge closer ties with Malaysia.
He said the collaboration between both nations in the K-Wave and halal markets had potential huge benefits.
“The K-Wave drives Malaysians to know South Korea and bring our two nations together,” he said, noting that the phenomenon was increasingly being “wedded into Malaysian culture”.
Moon, who will be here till tomorrow, said with Malaysia as the world’s leading halal hub, the two sides could enjoy a new chapter of economic cooperation should they leverage on these two markets, adding that the event yesterday could pave the way to fresh opportunities.
The president will be given a state welcome at Parliament Square today and will be the first foreign head of state to be hosted by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah at a state banquet since his ascension to the throne on Jan 31.
Moon will hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Putrajaya today.
Both leaders will witness the signing of four MoUs involving industrial cooperation, involving the transport industry and development of a Smart City in Malaysia.
The republic is Malaysia’s eighth largest global trading partner and was the 13th largest foreign direct investor in 2018.
The last state visit by a South Korean president to Malaysia was in 2010 when then president Lee Myung-bak came to commemorate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between both countries.