On October 1, Mayor Park Won Soon met with Annise Parker, the mayor of Houston, and signed an MOU for mutual cooperation and exchange. Houston is a booming city in the southern part of Texas, U.S., with a Korean population of 165,000, the seventh largest Korean population in the country.
Through this MOU, Seoul citizens visiting Houston and Houston citizens visiting Seoul will receive discounts when using cultural and tourism facilities in each city. In addition, the two cities have decided to establish regular, strengthened exchanges and cooperation with each other in various sectors, including economy, culture and tourism, and climate change. Starting with Hokkaido, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has promoted the cultural and tourism facilities discount project with six cities, including Tokyo, Jakarta, Delhi, Taipei, and Honolulu. The city will further expand this project to cities where there is a huge inflow of Seoul citizens, such as Beijing and Manila.
In addition, on the same day, Mayor Park also presented Houston Mayor Annise Parker with an “Honorary Seoul Citizen” certificate. Honorary Seoul citizenship is granted to foreigners who have visited Seoul and greatly contributed to the administration of the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Other honorary citizens of Seoul include heads of states, such as the governor of China’s Sichuan Province (2014) and Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla Miranda (2012), as well as Guus Hiddink, the former coach of the Korean national soccer team (2002), and Hines Ward, an American football player (2006).