August 18, 2009 08:46
The satellite cities of Seongnam and Hanam in Gyeonggi Province have agreed to merge before local elections in June 2010. Talks had been underway among three cities in the province, Seongnam, Hanam and Gwangju, about a possible merger, but Gwangju dropped out.
In a telephone interview on Monday, Seongnam Mayor Lee Dae-yub (74) said, "We've reached agreement with the city of Hanam on the merger of the two cities. We'll make an official announcement at a press conference on Wednesday."
Hanam Mayor Kim Hwang-sik (59) said "Last month, I proposed to Mayor Lee that Hanam, Seongnam and Gwangju merge to become one metropolitan city for the benefit of residents. I met him again last week and we agreed to seek the merger of Hanam and Seongnam first."
As of the end of 2008, Seongnam, which covers an area of about 142 sq.km, had a population of about 942,000, while Hanam, which measures about 93 sq.km, had a population of about 143,000.
In terms of population size, the resulting new city will rank with Suwon (1.09 million), the largest city in Gyeonggi Province, or Ulsan in the south with its population of 1.1 million. The new city will have a population of more than 1.13 million if residents move into new apartment houses in Pangyo New Town in Seongnam and a Hanam housing project is completed, the Gyeonggi provincial government said.
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