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More Korean-Chinese Choose New York

Posted January. 27, 2006 03:06,   


According to the Korean-Chinese Association of U.S.A (head: Won Jong-woon) and the Korean-Chinese Association of New York (head: Choo Kwang-il), there are approximately 20,000 Korean-Chinese in New York. Ethnic Koreans in China who began to emigrate to the United States as industrial trainees in the early 1990s have been flying to the country in rapidly increasing numbers every year since 2000.

The Flushing area in particular, home to many Koreans and Chinese, is an area popular with Korean-Chinese who speak both Chinese and Korean. The number of restaurants run by Korean-Chinese that began to emerge last year has now reached more than 10.

Ok Young-ja, who opened a restaurant last year, said, “I came to the U.S. three years ago after working for 10 years in Korea. I opened a restaurant because more and more people wanted Yeonbyeon-style food with the number of Korean-Chinese in the country increasing.”

There are some Korean-Chinese who work for establishments run by Chinese, but it is estimated that about 80 percent of them are working for Korean-owned establishments. Many of them are working in nail shops, supermarkets and restaurants in New York and nearby New Jersey. Many of the men also work in construction.

There are many Korean-Chinese who succeeded in the U.S. by becoming self-employed, such as opening a nail shop after saving some money. Indeed, many Korean-Chinese have acquired establishments formerly run by Koreans in Flushing.

Some of Korean-Chinese come to the U.S. for the sake of their children’s educations. Kim Chang-mook, the former chief of staff of the mayor of Yanji, China, flew to the U.S. in 2000 to earn tuition for his daughter who was attending a U.S. university. He is currently working as a general manager responsible for sales for Kyocharo, a free information newspaper.

But not all Korean-Chinese stories are success stories. Because it is more difficult to receive a U.S. visa in China than in Korea, a considerable number of ethnic Koreans in China come to the U.S. via a third country, such as Mexico, by paying a large amount of money to brokers. The cost is around $35,000 (approximately 35 million won), an astronomical figure in China.

Choi Dong-choon, who is operating a website for Korean-Chinese (www.chosuntoday.com) in New York, said, “As most of the ethnic Koreans in China come to the U.S. alone, leaving their families behind in China, many of them fail to relieve their stress from their lives as immigrants. That makes them want to return.”

Jong sik Kong kong@donga.com