If you haven’t been keeping up with Asian politics, Moon Jae In is the newly elected president of South Korea. However, before he won the elections two days ago, he had gone to meet the forerunners of Hallyu wave last week at SM COEX Artium, which belongs to SM Entertainment.
Some of the key members present during the meeting include Super Junior’s leader Leeteuk, SM Entertainment’s CEO Kim Youngmin and actor Kim Minjong.
During the panel session, Leeteuk had asked the then-presidential candidate if “cultural people” could be granted passports or APEC cards that are given to businessmen and government officials.
He said, “I’m aware that businessmen and government officials use APEC cards or passports. I was wondering if something similar could be created for cultural people…”
By “cultural people”, he’s reportedly referring to artists and entertainers.
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APEC cards, or APEC Travel Business Cards (ABTC), are granted to entrepreneurs to facilitate short-term entries into participating Asia Pacific countries for faster immigration clearance. According to the website, it also “removes the need to individually apply for visas or entry permits” and allows for multiple entries into the same country within the three-year validity period. The aim is to contribute to “APEC’s goal of free and open trade and investment”.
ABTC cardholders use a dedicated lane for immigration clearance. By granting these cards to celebrities, it could mean that the celebrities no longer have to stand in the regular lines for immigration clearance, namely in countries where VIP entry is not an option. However, it is unclear if the visa extends to allowing the artist to perform in the foreign country. Perhaps this is why Leeteuk asked for a “similar” system, instead of asking for the same privileges.
The president responded to him at the same panel and said, “Hallyu stars don’t get such benefits even though their roles are just as important,” and added that he would be reviewing this.
Watch the video below (in Korean, without English subtitles).
Image: TPG/Click Photos