A woman has become the first Vietnamese national to be granted the honorary citizen of Seoul title for her contributions to the South Korean capital.
Le Nguyen Minh Phuong, a native of the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang, was among 18 foreigners awarded the honorary citizenship of Seoul in 2019 at a ceremony held at Seoul City Hall on Wednesday.
The non-South Koreans were recognized for their dedication to increasing understanding of multicultural families and peaceful coexistence in society.
Phuong is the first Vietnamese to receive the title.
The 32-year-old woman has been working on cultural exchange between her host and home countries by hosting the KBS World Radio and Vietnamese national channel VTV.
Phuong said she was honored and proud to become an honorary citizen of Seoul because it means her contributions have been recognized.
She hoped her work would continue to enhance Vietnam – South Korea relations and promote the image of both countries domestically and internationally.
Phuong is a PhD fellow at Seoul’s Yonsei University who also works as a television host and interpreter.
Director of Seoul’s planning department Choi Won Seok congratulated Vietnam on this honor, saying he expects the two countries’ ties will continue to thrive.
The Seoul government has offered honorary citizenship to foreigners who have contributed to the betterment of the city and community activities since 1958.
The selection requires candidates to have lived in the city for three years or, in the case of non-continuous habitation, five years.
Honorary citizens are given seats in Seoul’s advisory committee for policy-making.
Eight hundred and fifty-three people from 98 countries have been honored with the honorary citizenship since its inception, including 18 added this year.
Vietnamese were the third largest group of foreign nationals in South Korea in 2018, with 196,633 people accounting for 8.3 percent of all foreigners in the country that year, according to the Yonhap News Agency.