On his official visit to Beijing, Mayor Park Won Soon has agreed to formulate and set up the Seoul-Beijing Integration Council to promote bilateral exchanges in economy, culture, and education more effectively.
Mayor Park Won Soon met with the mayor of Beijing, Wang Anshun, at 16:30, local time, on Sunday, April 21, the first day of his official trip to the capital city of China. They signed a MOU regarding the enhancement of the cities’ bilateral relations through the establishment of an integration council.
Establishing an integration council between cities is attempted for the first time in the world at the city level. The council will seek practical, mutually beneficial exchanges and cooperation in key areas instead of pursuing traditional superficial exchanges. Seoul and Beijing have worked together for quite some time to reach an agreement on the framework of such new arrangement.
The council consists of a secretariat and three teams in charge of economy, culture, and education. Exchanges will be coordinated at the level of each team headed by the relevant departments of the two cities. For instance, the secretariat is run by the International Relations Division of Seoul and Foreign Affairs Office of Beijing. It handles general affairs of the council as well as regular communication between the two cities. The economy team is run by the Economic Planning Office of Seoul and Beijing Municipal Commission of Commerce of Beijing, dealing with investments, logistics, service trade, strategic industries, corporate cooperation, and business events.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has announced that it plans to have the integration council work out comprehensive plans for the development of friendly relations between the two cities, identify the potential for further cooperation in each area mentioned in the agreement, and enhance the friendly relations between the two cities.
The mayors of the two cities will act as honorary chairmen of the council. A general assembly will be held every two years alternately between the two cities, with achievements shared and directions adjusted for future exchanges in each area.
“We will make sure that the Seoul-Beijing integration council becomes a model of a magnet for practical exchanges between cities. The citizens of the two cities will feel the enhanced practical exchanges between the two cities in their ordinary lives. That is what this agreement is all about,” said Mayor Park Won Soon.