Four cities in China, Japan and South Korea selected as Cultural City of East Asia 2021
Published: Dec 21, 2020 04:48 PM

A temple at the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang Photo: IC

The winners of The Cultural City of East Asia in 2021 have been chosen, with four cities in China, Japan and South Korea winning the title, the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced on Sunday.

Shaoxing of East China's Zhejiang Province, Dunhuang in Northwest China's Gansu Province, Suncheon in South Korea and Kitakyushu in Japan were selected through votes held in their respective countries in 2020. Choosing Dunhuang and Shaoxing at the same time marks the first time that one country has selected two cities in the program.

These four cities are major cultural landmarks in their respective countries. Dunhuang was a major stop on the ancient Silk Road and is best known for its nearby Mogao Grottoes, which contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist art from a period spanning 1,000 years. 

Suncheon is an eco-city in South Korea that is a major agricultural and industrial hub and also known for Suncheon Bay. Kitakyushu city was formed in 1963 through a merger of five municipalities centered around the ancient feudal city of Kokura. It is also where the already delayed 12th meeting of the three countries' culture ministers will be held in 2021.

Suncheon and Kitakyushu also won The Cultural City of East Asia in 2020.

These four cities are active hubs for art and cultural communication. According to the announcement, the four cities will work closely together to promote cultural development and prosperity in East Asia through sustained cultural cooperation and close exchanges, and will jointly support the preparation and hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2021 and the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2022.

The "The Cultural City of East Asia" program was created based on an agreement reached at a meeting of ministers of culture from Japan, China, and South Korea in 2013. Every year one or two cities in each country are selected with the aim to develop their ties through culture and arts; that cities host a variety of cultural and artistic events to introduce traditional and modern arts and culture as well as different lifestyles to visitors.