Leading Korean actress Song Hye-kyo has never played the role as a diplomat before. But now, she might consider becoming one in real life.
Fresh from her marriage six weeks ago, the movie star stole the spotlight at a state dinner hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing last night.
Song was part of a business and cultural entourage put together by President Moon Jae-in for the special Korea-China Economic and Trade Partnership trip.
She was among a group of Korean artists, who were banned on China’s TV networks after the world’s second biggest economy hit back at Seoul’s deployment of THAAD, the US anti-missile system, last year.
The decision to block K-Pop records and videos, as well as dramas and movies, dealt a massive blow to the Korean entertainment industry.
During the past decade, the Korean Wave has become a cultural phenomenon and the driving force behind the country’s soft power image
Song’s trip to Beijing was just another example of this. But then, she was happy to play the role of a cultural ambassador between the two countries.
The idol of hit dramas has become a household name in China after the amazing success of Autumn in My Heart, Full House and last year’s smash hit Descendants of the Sun.
To add to her fame, she even married her co-star, Soong Joong-ki, in October after their on screen romance in the in hugely-popular Descendants of the Sun turned into a fairytale marriage.
Song was joined on the trip by South Korean volleyball queen Kim Yeon-koung, who now plays in Shanghai. The delegation was 220-strong and included senior executives from Samsung, SK and Hanwha Group.
President Moon kicked off his four-day visit on Wednesday when he spoke of the need to get bilateral economic exchanges back on track.
“It is the confidence of South Koreans and business leaders that the difficult situation between the two countries, will be shaken off, and a new age of bilateral relations will begin,” he told a round table of Chinese and South Korean business leaders.
In his first trip to China since taking office in May, Moon has made it clear he wants to break the ice of the year-long diplomatic standoff and resume normal relations.
Tour groups from South Korea are starting to return to China but there are still hurdles to overcome. Beijing has told travel agencies not to include Lotte Group, which provided the land for the US-backed anti-missile system complex, in their tour packages.
Still, with Song playing the diplomat, the road to a smoother relationship should not be far away.