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International Relations News

  • Mayor Park Speaks about Peace and Unification with US Foreign Affairs and Security Think Tanks

  • International Relations News SMG 3537

    On September 24, Mayor Park Won Soon, who is currently visiting the United States, attended a meeting with about 30 foreign affairs personnel in Washing DC at the invitation of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and discussed various issues, including peace and unification of the Korean peninsula and the role of the Korean capital, Seoul. Comprising current and former American politicians and members of economic sectors, CFR is a world-renowned foreign affairs and security policy think tank.

    Also, Mayor Park visited the District of Columbia City Hall and met with Mayor Vincent C. Gray of Washington DC, and signed an MOU on strengthening the relationship between the two cities.

    This MOU covers specific means to achieve cooperation between the two cities, including the exchange of model policies related to urban renewal projects; exchange of important policies regarding the development and management of city waterfront areas; cooperation on implementing sustainable urban development policies; cooperation in the tourism industry, including the development of common tourism products and provision of practical conveniences for visitors from the sister city; and the exchange of expert knowledge and best practices in various areas, including transportation, environment, urban design, and e-government.

    Washington DC is Seoul’s 20th sister city. In 2006, former Mayor Lee Myung-Bak visited Washington DC and signed a sister city agreement to expand exchange in various areas. Since then, the two cities have maintained friendly relations, with then mayor of Washington DC, Anthony A. Williams, visiting Seoul the same year and being appointed as an honorary mayor.

    “As capital cities of Korea and the US, Seoul and Washington have a lot of policies to share,” said Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon. “Through the signing of the MOU, we hope to strengthen our cooperation and practical exchange, thereby facilitating the sharing of expertise and best practices in related areas.”

    Furthermore, Mayor Park attended the Seoul Day event held at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC. With the attendance of over 300 scholars interested in Seoul, he introduced various citizen-participatory policies that have been implemented in Seoul and signed an MOU regarding cooperation with the World Bank in terms of exchanging best practice policies.

    Seoul Day is a special knowledge sharing workshop, planned by the World Bank and Seoul, and held for the first time in 2013. Reflecting Seoul’s growing appeal to cities of developing nations, this meaningful event began with the World Bank inviting a delegation from Seoul. Under the theme “Transformation,” various issues were discussed with urban experts concerning the past and present changes in Seoul.

    In addition, Mayor Park visited the Urban Institute, a 42-year-old global think tank. The Urban Institute is a research institution that was established in 1968 to resolve various challenges faced by megacities. Currently, about 385 researchers at the institute are investigating and analyzing urban issues faced by the 50 US states and about 26 foreign nations. By signing an MOU, Seoul and the Urban Institute promised to carry out joint research in specific issues, such as aging societies, community revitalization, and residential problems.

    Researchers from the Seoul Institute and the Urban Institute plan to hold short-term seminars to develop joint research projects. Through these seminars and projects, the experts will conduct research in critical areas in which Seoul can improve, as well as possible policy directions for Seoul. Afterward, a four-step, two-year project will be launched to support the joint project for development in the necessary areas.