Barack Obama was recently in South Korea to grace the 8th Asian Leadership Conference where he talked about the influence of Korean culture all over the world. The former U.S. president surprised the public when he specifically mentioned SHINee, a five-member K-Pop act, during his speech at the annual gathering held at the Walkerhill Hotel on Monday.

Korean culture and its popularity stateside

"Famous movies are being filmed in Korea. Young people in the U.S. learn Korean so they can understand SHINee. Likewise, I heard SHINee likes USA's In-N-Out hamburgers," Obama said as cited by Soompi.

His shout outs quickly caught the attention of fans who relayed them to the members of the boy group. The K-pop act, in return, expressed their gratitude to the former U.S. leader for his reference to them in his speech. SHINee's Key took to social media to share a few snippets of Obama at the 8th Asian Leadership Conference.

"Thanks for mentioning us, Mr. Obama. SHINee will do our best for the growth of global pop culture. And yes! We do love In-N-Out," the member wrote in English and Korean.

Fans were particularly elated that K-pop is crossing boundaries that even the former U.S. president has heard of SHINee. "Nice to hear that a deeply intelligent and conscientious man recognizes a specific K-pop group like this," a commenter said.

K-pop's crossover in the United States

Several Korean artists have been trying to break into the U.S. market through collaborations over the past years. But recently, Bangtan Boys or BTS have left an outstanding impression for winning the Top Social Artist award at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. The seven-member group has managed to break Justin Bieber's winning streak after six years.

When asked if they are planning to release an album for their American fans, Rap Monster told Hollywood Life that they are not ruling out the possibility. Although nothing has been confirmed about their potential U.S. debut, the BTS leader said they are already thankful to be invited in this year's BBMAs, where they had the chance to mingle with some of the most popular artists including Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall of The Chainsmokers, Halsey who even gave them churros, Camila Cabello who personally greeted them, and a lot more.

Aside from attending the annual awarding ceremony, their schedule was also packed with interviews and TV guesting which only proved that K-pop is already breaking into the U.S. market.