On the 10th of January, a delegation from Seongnam City in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, visited Aurora City in Colorado, United States. After passing through the CES Expo in Las Vegas, the delegation arrived in Denver in the afternoon with a tight schedule the following day on the 11th. Mayor Shin Sang-jin met with Aurora Mayor, Mike Coffman to discuss cooperation between the two cities. They agreed to promote collaboration in various fields, including economy, culture, arts, education, and international transfers, with a particular emphasis on inviting Aurora’s youth to the “4th International Youth Conference” in Seongnam to expand human exchange.
Seongnam City and Aurora City have maintained a friendly relationship since establishing a sister city relationship in 1992. This visit is a part of the resumption of international exchange projects after the COVID-19 pandemic, this aims to strengthen collaboration in cultural and business sectors of both cities. In the afternoon, the delegation visited the Denver Art Museum to appreciate the Korean Buncheong ceramics, followed by a welcome party organized by Aurora City in the evening.
Mayor Shin stated at the party, “The year 2024 marks the 74th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War and the 1st anniversary of the Korean-American alliance, which will further strengthen the alliance between our sister cities. I hope this visit will advance human and economic exchanges between our two cities.”
Mayor Coffman, in his welcome speech, emphasized, “Based on the 32-year-long sister city relationship between Seongnam City and Aurora City, we will continue to pursue rich and meaningful exchanges. This visit will broaden the friendship and mutual understanding between our two cities.”
Furthermore, to commemorate “Korean American Day”, Aurora City presented
an official proclamation, which was accepted by community manager Yoon Soo-kyung who was representing the representative. This document acknowledges the contributions of Korean Americans to the U.S. community. The two mayors exchanged gifts, with Mayor Shin’s gift of Korean mother-of-pearl crafts drawing exclamations from the attendees.
On the 12th, the Seongnam City delegation met with the Aurora Korean War Memorial Committee and related organizations to express support for the construction of a memorial, emphasizing that Seongnam City’s development is due to the sacrifices of American soldiers and UN forces. The Aurora Korean War Veterans Memorial is set to be erected in Generals Park on the grounds of the University of Colorado Hospital, with $200,000 secured towards a fundraising goal of $600,000. Mayor Shin remarked, “It is an honor for Seongnam City to participate in such a meaningful campaign.”
In the evening, the Aurora International Sister City Committee hosted a welcoming event for the Seongnam City delegation at the BBQ Chicken Aurora branch. Branch representative Park Ju-hyung, born in Seongnam and a 1.5-generation immigrant who settled in Aurora, was present. Mayor Shin introduced the delegation, stating, “Like our delegation, which cooperates across different political parties for the good of our city, our compatriots are also contributing to the development of Aurora City by harmoniously integrating with its diverse communities. I hope this visit will deepen the friendship and cooperation between our two cities.”
The discussions between the mayors and the participation in the memorial fundraising activity have laid the foundation for ongoing cultural and economic exchange between the two cities, and it is expected to further strengthen the relationship between them.
<By Hayne Kang>