Beijing Foreign Affairs Office
2022-02-22  |  

[Overview] Seoul (full name Seoul Special City, old name "Hanseong") is the capital city and largest metropolis of the Republic of Korea. It is also the political, economic, cultural and educational center as well as the sea, land and air transportation hub of the country. Located in the central part of the Korean Peninsula, the city covers an area of 605.77 square kilometers and has a population of about 10 million.

[Politics] Seoul is governed by the Metropolitan Council and the Metropolitan Government. The Metropolitan Council consists of 114 members who are elected by the citizens, and has one Chairperson and two Vice-Chairpersons both elected by Council members through secret ballots for a term of two years. The Metropolitan Government has a Mayor and three Vice-Mayors, namely the Vice-Mayor I for Administrative Affairs, Vice-Mayor II for Administrative Affairs and Vice-Mayor for Political Affairs. The mayor is elected by the citizens for a term of four years. The incumbent Mayor Oh Se-hoon, took office in April 2021.

[Economy] Seoul is the economic, financial, logistics and commercial center of the Republic of Korea. The services sector is highly developed with finance and information & communications as the pillars. According to the metropolitan government, the city has "Six Engines" for its economic growth, which receive strong support from the government, namely digital content, information and communications, bio-nano technology, financial services, design, and tourism and convention.

[Culture and Education] As the cultural and educational center of the Republic of Korea, Seoul is home to some renowned universities, including Seoul National University and Korea University. It boasts a well-developed cultural industry. Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1948, is the most time-honored and outstanding symphony orchestra in the country.

[Relations with Beijing] Beijing and Seoul officially became sister cities on October 23, 1993. Beijing Municipal People's Congress and Seoul Metropolitan Council have had official exchanges since 1995 and established a mechanism of regular mutual visits and exchanges. The two cities have had close interactions in various fields and have yielded bountiful fruits through pragmatic cooperation.

In 2013, to mark the 20th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between Beijing and Seoul, the Beijing-Seoul Joint Committee was initiated to comprehensively promote pragmatic cooperation in a wide range of fields, including economy and trade, science and technology, culture, education, tourism, environmental protection and youth exchanges, giving rise to an overall pattern of all-round, multi-leveled and wide-ranging exchanges and cooperation. So far, the Joint Committee has successfully held three plenary sessions, helped establish efficient ties between 29 functional departments of the two sides, and brought about more than 100 cooperation projects and exchange events, setting a great example for the pragmatic cooperation between capital cities.

In 2018, the 25th anniversary of the formation of the sister-city relationship, leaders of Beijing and Seoul carried out mutual visits and reached consensuses on furthering the friendly exchanges and practical collaboration in such areas as economy and trade, scientific and technological innovation, megacity governance and people-to-people relations. In November, the two cities jointly staged performances at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing to mark the 25th anniversary of their sister-city relationship.