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'Jeju is my dream come true'An interview with new vice governor, Kim Hyung Sun
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승인 2011.07.31  16:30:30
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▲ Kim Hyung Sun. Photo courtesy Jeju Special Self-Governing Province

There’s a new vice governor in town.

Kim Hyung Sun has recently taken the post of Jeju provincial government’s vice governor of administrative affairs. Arriving on July 1, he replaces Kim Sang-in, who was called back to Seoul.

When asked about his feelings on hearing of his transfer to this island, Kim replied, “I was very happy. Jeju is my dream come true.”

He has visited Jeju several times over the years, always hoping to live here one day.

Kim’s 30-year career in the central government has been largely in the area of human resources, experience which provides him with solid interpersonal and administrative skills.

“This position in Jeju government has a very broad scope,” he said, “so I am studying every day in order to learn as much as I can.”

Kim has lived twice in the US. He spent two years in New York as part of his education, and worked for two years in Seattle. He also recently lived and worked for another two years in Beijing, returning to Seoul in 2006.

His role there was to build “sister-city” relationships between many cities in China and Korea.

“My job was one of cultural exchange,” he described. “I had to help build the relationships by encouraging both the Korean and Chinese people to be more open to foreigners, by increasing their knowledge of one another and focusing on their needs and desires.”

Jeju has its own desire to become a free international city and for its people, government officials and private citizens alike, to develop “global-mindedness.” Kim feels that he can help with this.

“Just as when I was in Beijing, I can encourage Jeju people to be more open-minded toward foreigners by learning more about them and developing relationships,” he said.

He also identified ease of access as a key factor in attracting foreign investors to Jeju and reported that Jeju is currently a visa-free zone for the citizens of 180 countries.

“Come to Jeju!” he said with a smile when asked about foreigners. “Jeju is waiting for you!”

The new vice governor describes his role primarily as one of providing support and assistance to the present governor, Woo Keun Min.

He has a history with Governor Woo. At the time that Kim was just beginning his career in the Human Resource Management and Administration Division of the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, Woo was its bureau chief, according to Kim.

“The governor is elected by the people, so his responsibility is to them. My job is to support him in his goals and objectives,” he explained.

His position is appointed by the central government. The positions of both governor and vice governor of economic and environmental affairs, Kim’s counterpart, are determined by public election.

Kim, who lived for many years in Seoul and abroad, cites Jeonbuk, now a portion of North Jeolla Province, as his place of origin. His wife, a high school mathematics teacher, continues to reside in Seoul, where his son and daughter attend university.

His impressions of Jeju so far?

“Jeju people are very kind,” he said. “The island has all the conditions for becoming an international city, and its unique culture is a boon to foreigners.”

He views the government officials as working “devotedly” for the residents of Jeju, with a desire to make the island “number one” in as many ways as possible.

“If you want to live and work here, or invest here: Welcome!”

Dr. Hilty is a cultural health psychologist.

ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (
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