Korean expats to receive more help

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Korean expats to receive more help


President Moon Jae-in, left, takes a bow to welcome the participants in a convention for leaders of over 200 South Korean communities abroad at Lotte Hotel World in Jamsil-dong, southern Seoul, on Wednesday. [YONHAP]

South Korea will begin providing additional support, including consular services, to Korean expatriates to help ensure their safety and also promote their rights and interests in their host nations, the country’s president said Wednesday.

In a meeting in Seoul with the leaders of over 200 South Korean communities abroad, President Moon Jae-in said his country will treat its people abroad the same as those at home, noting they have equally helped to found and develop the nation.

“Even though we live in different places, Korean expatriates and those who live in Korea have always been one throughout the Republic of Korea’s history,” Moon said, referring to the country by its official name.

“They waged independence movements throughout the Korean Peninsula and the world, they shared laughter when the country was liberated and together shed tears of pain during war and national division. They were always together, even throughout the country’s turbulent modern history of democratization and economic development,” he added.

The president also thanked overseas Koreans for his victory in the presidential special election in May, caused by the ousting of his conservative predecessor Park Geun-hye over corruption allegations.

A record-breaking 221,981 overseas Koreans cast ballots in the May 9 presidential election, according to earlier reports, marking a 40.3 percent spike from the previous presidential election, which was held in 2012.

Moon said his administration was working to respond to the high expectations of the people who, he said, gave him a chance to right the wrongs of previous administrations.

“Most of all, I wish to stress that a fair and just Republic of Korea is now being built. The government will work with a stronger determination than ever to make sure unfairness and injustice will no longer survive,” he said in the meeting. The new administration is also working to repay those in other countries.

“First, we will protect your safety, rights and interests. By opening ‘overseas safety centers’ that will operate 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, we will try our utmost to prevent any accidents and incidents that can be prevented,” the president said.

“In addition, we will make sure you are provided with adequate consular services wherever you may be.”

The government will also expand exchange and visit programs for second and third generation overseas Koreans to help preserve their national identity.

“In addition, the government will support efforts to promote the status of overseas Koreans in their host countries, so their connection to their homeland will continue to remain strong,” Moon said.

He then asked for their help in promoting the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, which will be held in PyeongChang, 180 kilometers (112 miles) east of Seoul, explaining that the country’s successful hosting of the event may also help establish peace in the two Koreas

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