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[From the scene] Festivities fill air as 'kinship' of Korea, Vietnam reaches new heights

By Son Ji-hyoung

Published : Dec. 18, 2022 - 15:06

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A Vietnamese traditional performance team dance in folk costumes on Friday. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald) A Vietnamese traditional performance team dance in folk costumes on Friday. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)

HANOI, Vietnam -- Sing-alongs at a mini concert of a legendary singer, a surprise appearance of Vietnam's national hero, eye-catching choreography, and festivities: these were the moments that captured the hearts of some 1,000 people at the Korea-Vietnam Economic Cooperation Forum 2022 held at the InterContinental Hanoi Landmark72 Friday.

The event, designed to celebrate the 30 years of economic ties between South Korea and Vietnam, also hosted performances on its sidelines to mark the cultural ties of the two nations -- a feature that Hanoi Mayor Tran Sy Thanh depicted as "in-law relationships."

“Korea and Vietnam have a lot in common, and this has kept the two countries close together, as much as ‘in-law relationships,’ … Both Korea and Vietnam are noted for celebrating the Lunar New Year,” Thanh said.

“Korean companies have greatly contributed to the development of Hanoi.”

Hanoi Mayor Tran Sy Thanh (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald) Hanoi Mayor Tran Sy Thanh (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)

Participants were able to get a taste of the festivities at the kickoff of the event. The Korean-Vietnam children's choir, composed of 28 children from different ethnic backgrounds, performed "Dynamite" by BTS and "Heal the World" by Michael Jackson. Notably, the choir performed "Heal the World" with its lyrics partially translated into Korean and Vietnamese.

After 4 1/2 hours of speeches, presentations and panel sessions, the forum venue suddenly turned into a dinner theater, with Korean Ambassador to Vietnam Oh Young-ju bringing up the motto of "Shine Together" as she proposed a toast, alongside Thanh's congratulatory speech to signify the "kinship" of the two nations.

The show was off to a start with a Vietnam traditional dancing team in folk costumes, followed by a collaborative performance where choreographer Poppin Hyun Joon carried on a street-funky hip-hop dance to the Korean traditional music-type beat by gugak singer and his wife Park Ae-ri.

Korean-Vietnamese children's choir (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald) Korean-Vietnamese children's choir (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)
Park Ae-ri (left) and Poppin Hyun Joon (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald) Park Ae-ri (left) and Poppin Hyun Joon (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)
Korean trot singer Ahn Sung-joon (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald) Korean trot singer Ahn Sung-joon (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)

Korean trot singer Ahn Sung-joon's appearance spiced up the festivities, especially with his cover performance of Psy's "It's Art." Soon, Vietnamese-Korean singer Hari Won, who MCed the night event, gave herself a makeover to take the stage, with songs including her latest title. "Just Like You Wanted" and mid-tempo dance number "Huong Dem Bay Xa."

The audience began to stand up and flocked to the front row as the appearance of legendary Korean singer Lee Sun-hee turned the venue into a standing concert. Sing-alongs and crowd waving of cell phone flashlights ensued as the 58-year-old veteran singer performed "Fate," "Meet Him Among Them," "To J" and "I Always Miss You."

The festivities peaked as Park Hang-seo, head coach of the Vietnamese men's national soccer team, made a last-minute surprise visit to the venue.

The 65-year-old won Southeast Asian Games twice and the AFF Championship once, and his team advanced to third round of World Cup qualifiers for first time in history. Park is now ahead of the 2022 AFF Championship, the last competition to represent Vietnam as he earlier confirmed that he would not extend his five-year contract that is to expire in January 2023.

"I'm pleased to host a forum in Hanoi with distinguished guests from both Korea and Vietnam, 30 years after the two countries' friendship started," said Jung Won-ju, chairman of Herald Corp. and Daewoo E&C. Herald Corp., co-host of the event, is the publisher of The Korea Herald and Herald Business.

Hari Won (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald) Hari Won (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)
Lee Sun-hee (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald) Lee Sun-hee (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)
The Korea Herald CEO Choi Jin-young (fourth from left, front row) pose for a photo with Park Hang-seo (fifth from left, front row), head coach of Vietnamese men's national soccer team. (Son Ji-hyoung/The Korea Herald) The Korea Herald CEO Choi Jin-young (fourth from left, front row) pose for a photo with Park Hang-seo (fifth from left, front row), head coach of Vietnamese men's national soccer team. (Son Ji-hyoung/The Korea Herald)

By Son Ji-hyoung

Korea Herald Correspondent

(consnow@heraldcorp.com)