Seoul City, Sichuan agree to boost cooperation

SEOUL, July 28 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean capital of Seoul reached agreement Monday with the western Chinese province of Sichuan to step up mutual cooperation and exchanges, city officials said.

The agreement, signed between Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon and visiting provincial head Wei Hong, calls for boosting friendly exchanges in such areas as the economy, urban development and tourism, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

Mayor Park also awarded Wei with an honorary citizenship of the South Korean capital.

Wei, who flew to South Korea on Saturday for a three-day visit, plans to invite Park to Sichuan during the second half of this year to sign a friendship agreement, the city government said.

Sichuan is the center of China's Western Development Strategy, or a nation-wide initiative to boost the economies of western provinces.

In 2008, Seoul City provided Sichuan with US$300,000 in relief aid and 100,000 bottles of its tap water "Arisu" to help those affected by an earthquake that killed more than 700,000 people.

Seoul and Sichuan are also in negotiations to have travelers from the two areas receive discounts when touring their respective destinations, city officials said.

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