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Opinion

K-pop deaths highlight South Korea's desperation for soft power

In unpromising economy, music groups are rare financial and cultural success

| South Korea

The propulsive beats and synchronized movements that pushed BTS, Blackpink and many other groups to the forefront of the global pop music scene are the most compelling face of South Korea to the world -- its form of soft power or global cultural influence.

Whether promoting Samsung cellphones in Southeast Asia, beauty products in China or political candidates at home -- in fact, even in political propaganda aimed at North Koreans -- K-pop is everywhere: the proof of superiority and modernity. Any intimation of its dark side, such as sex scandals or the exploitation of the stars, mars K-pop's perfectionist sheen.

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