Koreatown Grows in District of BeijingUpdated: 2007-09-19 12:00:00 (KST)
This year marks the 15th anniversary of Korea-China diplomatic ties.
And during the past 15 years, the two countries have enjoyed remarkable growth in bilateral exchange.
Trade for one has increased 18-fold while millions of people are coming and going each year.
With the surge in the number of Koreans living in China, major cities there are seeing their own ''Koreatowns.''
Kim Kiho reports from Beijing.
This is the Wangjing district of Beijing.
15 years ago the area was a plain old suburb where ox carts and bicycles plodded along dusty roads.
Today, it's one huge apartment complex.
Concrete and steel have replaced dirt while sleek sedans cruise the streets.
It was in 1999 when Koreans began to flock here fleeing escalating housing costs in downtown Beijing.
Now, some 70 thousand Koreans call Wangjing their home.
And the number is on the rise.
''We are seeing more and more Koreans moving into Wangjing this year especially since the Korean international school opened here earlier this month. I think the living environment is perfect for Koreans.''
And with the Koreans came the Korean way of life.
Korean restaurants, Korean shops even Korean-style saunas moved in.
Their signs are, of course, all in Korean.
This is why Wangjing is called ''Koreatown'' in Beijing.
''If you're a Korean and if you can't speak Chinese, you'll really feel at home here. I'm at the central market in Wangjing and as you can see there are hundreds of shops where Korean is the other official language.''
Kimchi, chili paste and other Korean foods are sold at this market.
And if you only speak Korean, not a problem.
Koreans have even introduced their own food delivery service.
These days motorbikes with steel boxes are no longer a novelty in Wangjing.
Good and getting better.
''We deliver around 200 dishes a day on average.''
Phones never stay quiet at mealtime so it was almost impossible for me to finish the interview.
So the next time you're in Beijing, and you're craving a bowl of kimchi stew just hail down a cab and say, ''Wangjing, please.''
Kim Kiho, Arirang News.
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