Chinese characters for Seoul

Hmm. This is a strange one.

Seoul to Have New Chinese Name
The new Chinese name of Seoul, the capital of Korea, will be decided on Dec. 3, Seoul City said Sunday.

Seoul City received proposals for a new Chinese name for the metropolitan city from both Chinese language experts and citizens in May as the current Chinese characters, 漢城 (Hansong), have a different pronunciation.

The city has picked two of the most suitable names with close pronunciations: “首爾 (seoual),” which means “city full of flowers,” and “首午爾 (seowooal),” which means “bright city in broad daylight.”

The city initially planned to choose one of the names on Aug. 24 in order to celebrate the 12th anniversary of diplomatic relationship between South Korea and China. However, it had to postpone its plan due mainly to the lack of positive response from the Chinese government.

The city plans to choose an official Chinese name and will strongly urge China to use it. The new name will be used for maps, street directions, airports and public transit systems to help the increasing number of Chinese travelers to the city.

“It will be of no use to have a new Chinese name for the capital city if the Chinese government and people do not accept it,” a city official said.

The municipal government will continue to request the Chinese government to use the same Chinese characters through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.


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