S. Korea to set up consul office in Cebu

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

TIES.  Korean Consul General Lee Ki-seog met with members of the Cebu Korean Association during the general membership assembly yesterday. In six months, South Korea will open a consulate office in Cebu City, a sign of improving ties between Cebu and the country.  (SUN.STAR FOTO/RUEL ROSELLO)


THE Government of South Korea decided to put up a separate consulate in Cebu by the first quarter of 2015 to monitor and protect the increasing number of their citizens in the Visayas and Mindanao and at the same time promote business and tourism.

Consul General Lee Ki-seog told Sun.Star Cebu that there are about 400,000 Koreans visiting the Philippines every year and about 35,000 to 40,000 of them are in Cebu.

Aside from that, there are also thousands of Filipinos who go to South Korea every year and those who are from Cebu and the rest of the Visayas need not go to the Korean embassy in Manila to get a visa for their travel once the consulate in Cebu will open, Lee said.

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Opening

With about six months of preparations, the Korean Cebu consulate may open either in February or March 2015 at the Cebu Business Park.

The consul general expects more of his fellow Koreans to come, considering the five direct flights every week between Mactan Cebu International Airport and Incheon, South Korea.

Lee was interviewed during the general assembly of the Cebu Korean Association Inc., which is chaired by businessman Charlie Choo, the son-in-law of Cordova Mayor Adelino
Sitoy.

Choo said the opening of a consulate in Cebu proves that the relationship between the two countries in tourism, business and education is improving.

Lee said the Korean Government wants to retain the services of lawyer Augusto W. Go,
the Philippine honorary consul general to South Korea, when the Cebu consulate will open.

However, Lee said the Philippine Government has rejected their request because under the Philippine law, there is no need for an honorary consul once a consulate is opened.

“Consul General Augusto Go is a great man. He has helped a lot in promoting the good relations between South Korea and the Philippines, especially in business, tourism and education. I admire him. I hope he can work with us in other capacities,” Lee said.

Hospitable

Cebu Korean Association Vice President Joseph Shin and Cebu Dream Show owner Paul Kim said more Koreans are coming to study English, invest and for rest-and recreation
because Cebu is a nice place and Cebuanos are hospitable.

Tuburan, Cebu Mayor Democrito Diamante, the president of the League of Municipalities in the Philippines (LMP) Cebu Chapter, thanked the Cebu Korean Association for inviting Cebu mayors for an observation tour in South Korea.

“It was an unforgettable experience for the mayors. That is why we, at the LMP, want to help in creating a system to monitor the safety of about 35,000 Korean nationals in Cebu,” Diamante said.

Diamante said the LMP may adopt some Korean technologies and systems of governance that they’ve observed during their recent visit to South Korea.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 18, 2014.

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