S. Korea to establish consulate on Cebu, Philippines

SEOUL, Sept. 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to establish a consulate on Cebu to handle growing violent crimes against Korean residents in the leading tourist destination in the Philippines, a foreign affairs ministry official said Sunday.

In addition to the Korean Embassy in the capital city of Manila, the foreign affairs ministry is consulting with related organizations to set up a new consulate on Cebu and dispatch permanent staff to protect Korean residents and tourists there.

"The ministry plans to set up the consulate in the first half of next year, and preparations have been nearly completed," the foreign affairs ministry official said, asking for customary anonymity. "There is a consensus for another consulate on Cebu in light of the increasing violent crimes against Koreans residing there."

Last month, a Korean resident was shot dead at his restaurant on the island, and another Korean was also killed in a shooting incident in June.

If the embassy is established on the resort island, Korean officials will be able to more quickly respond to crimes and accidents among residents and visitors, the official said.

"As protection of Koreans living in the Philippines has emerged as an important issue, the consulate is expected to be established soon," the official said.

Cebu City, the second largest city in the Philippines with over 20,000 Korean residents, draws about 410,000 South Korean tourists annually, according to the ministry.

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