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China’s New Name for Seoul

Posted October. 24, 2005 03:03,   


China will officially change the Chinese name of the South Korean capital, Seoul, as early as possible, according to the Xinhua News Agency. China will replace Hancheong, that it has used so far to refer to Seoul, with Shouer, which is similar in pronunciation to Seoul.

One Chinese expert said, “To use Shouer as Chinese name of the Korean capital is not only in line with the international customs but also in accordance with China’s rules on foreign place translation use.”

There have been negative responses in China to a change to the Chinese name of Seoul. It has been worried that since more than 1.5 billion people around the world use Chinese characters, any change to the name of Seoul might cause great inconvenience to them. Therefore, not only the Chinese government but also the Chinese media have referred to Seoul as Hancheong so far, and only some media outlets have referred to Seoul as Shouer, or Shouer (formerly Hancheong).

Yoo-Seong Hwang yshwang@donga.com