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Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf(left) shakes her hands with Pyeongtaek Mayor Jae-Kwang Kong at the ‘Friendship Relation City Signing Ceremony’ held at City Hall.

Pyeongtaek becomes Oakland’s first South Korean “friendship city”

on October 6, 2017

On Tuesday, Oakland officially became a “friendship city” with Pyeongtaek, South Korea. At a ceremony held at City Hall, the mayors of the two cities signed a memorandum of understanding cementing the relationship.

“Our cities have many things in common. We have beautiful coastline, we have beautiful people, and we have important industries,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. Both cities also have ports and are close in size: Oakland has around 420,000 people, Pyeongtaek 480,000. “We have many ideas that I know that we can exchange, and that will be mutually beneficial,” the mayor said.

As part of the friendship city arrangement, the two cities are planning exchange programs focused on trade, education, tourism, sports and culture. “We will also cooperate in the areas of trade and logistics, utilizing the cities’ strong port infrastructure,” said Pyeongtaek Mayor Jae-Kwang Kong, speaking in Korean.

Becoming friendship cities is the first stage of an official relationship between two cities in different countries. As the relationship grows, and if both cities want a long-term cooperative relationship, they may become sister cities, according to Sister Cities International.

Pyeongtaek is the first South Korean city that Oakland has formed a friendship relationship with. “I hope that this will become a good beginning for the prosperous relations between the two cities,” said Jimin Kim, the acting consul general of South Korea.

Some Korean-Americans at the ceremony said they are excited about the new friendship. “With the relationship, many cultural delegations from Korea will visit here and perform traditional songs and dances,” said Joanna Kim-Selby, president of the East Bay Korean-American Senior Service Center, speaking in Korean. The 86-year-old immigrated to the United States in 1958. “We feel nostalgia when we watch Korean performances from our former home. Those exchanges can also promote Korean culture in the United States,” she said.

Leewoong Song, the secretary general of the Oakland & East Bay Korean-American Association, said that he hopes that Oakland residents will host South Korean exchange students “and help them to explore the United States at lower cost.”

The ceremony took place on October 3, which is National Foundation Day in South Korea, a celebration of the formation of the first state of Korea in 2333 B.C. The flag of South Korea was hung in front of Oakland City Hall. “This is the first time that we have raised the Korean flag to celebrate the founding day, and I promise you it not will be the last,” said Schaaf.

Around 2,400 people of Korean descent live in Oakland according to the Census Bureau. Schaaf thanked the city’s Korean community “for making our city richer by sharing your culture, your food, your products that you invent—everything you do to make this a great city.”


  1. elisa novarese on October 9, 2017 at 10:19 am

    Oakland should not be a complicit in the dog/cat meat trade!
    It is sickening,why don’t you help fight against this infamous trade?Don’t you have a conscience?
    By being friend to such a city Oakland shows its indifference to this nightmarish cruelty.It’s a disgrace!

    • Cristina Economides on October 10, 2017 at 7:46 am

      Agree! Sentient animals must be respected, and it shows that Asian culture only depicts psychopathology, greed, ignorance towards animals that feel pain and disgrace like you and me. MUST STOP spreading abnormality towards our children and a whole world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Ruth Griffiths on October 9, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Please use your influence in your new position with this city to tell them that we are appalled at the horrific torture & eating of helpless innocent cats & dogs who are often pets in s korea.& tyo work to END IT!

    • Herbert Staniek on October 9, 2017 at 3:16 pm

      Is South Korea a civilized country?
      Without the help of dogs and cats civilization as we know it clearly would not exist.
      Without the help of dogs it would not have been possible for our far ancestors to change
      their nomadic way of life against a settled one. No dogs – no domesticated animal herds the dogs helped to defend against predators; no dogs – nobody to keep watch against enemies; no dogs – no aid in hunting.
      No cats – no one to defend crops against the onslaught of noxious rodents.
      Dogs and cats have been mankinds LOYAL servants for thousands of years. We OWE dogs and cats a lot. It is about time we repay them a little bit of this debt in form of kindness or at least – mercy.
      So … IS South Korea a civilized country?

  3. Mojca Maver on October 9, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Please be a voice against the horrific practice of brutal torturing and killing of cats & dogs in South Korea, many of whom are stolen pets. Please do not be indifferent and make your stand known and heard!

  4. Cessenou on October 9, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Its à shame… Inhumanité. STOP

  5. Karen Wolf on October 9, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Please urge S Korea to stop torture-killings of Dogs and Cats

  6. Cessenou on October 9, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Shame on asiatique for eat and Hunt all animals

  7. Nancy Lowe on October 9, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Stop the dog meat farms and do not let them legalize them.

  8. Suzanne Flanegan on October 9, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Please take action to put a stop to the heinous dog meat trade. Dogs are our best friends and sentient creatures who deserve to be treated with respect and love.

  9. Sasha Patrick on October 9, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Please use your influence to help end the horrific dog and cat meat trade in South Korea.What happens to these animals is the most horrendous cruelty I have ever seen and these poor animals desperately need our help.

  10. Victoria Guppy on October 9, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Please use your influence to help stop this barbaric and cruel trade in dog and cat meat.
    These are sentient animals and skinning and boiling alive, electrocuting, burning, beating or hanging to death is not the mark of a decent civilised society as I am sure you will agree, so any support you can bring to bear will be much appreciated. Thank you

  11. Dawn on October 9, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Dog and cat farms belong in the history books these lovely animals do not deserve to be treated the way they do in South Korea…the barbaric methods in which they are kept and killed is beyond horrendous. This is totally unacceptable….mankind has a lot to answer for….shame on all those concerned.

  12. Julie on October 9, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Please, please stop the dog meat trade.

  13. Jacky on October 9, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    South Korea is renowned for the torture and murder of cats and dogs, in the most heinous ways possible. People have been fighting this for decades. To connect with a country that allows such unimaginable acts of violence against any living creature is not going to help these poor defenceless animals. This is nothing to celebrate. These animals go through living hell, every single day. You have the power to show the disapproval of this, please use it to help those in desperate need and stop the atrocities. Thank you.

  14. Laura Campbell on October 9, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    What horribly shameful and subhuman behavior is exhibited in this dog meat trade. This is part of the reason I’m vegan for many years now and healthy as can be. I got tired of wondering what “mystery meat” was in certain dishes and realized that ALL meat is the product of disgusting abuse and killing of innocents. You have got to help stop this dog/cat meat trade, please.

  15. Tonya Gallo on October 9, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    This is inhumane, Dogs and cats are our pets , they are our friends . Stop killing these innocent animals for food . Stop the dog meat trade and farms . This should not be made legal in ANY STATE OR COUNTRY . THIS IS A FORM OF ANIMAL ABUSE , CRUELTY AND NEGLECT . THIS SHOULD BE MOST PUNISHABLE BY LAW IN ALL STATES . THIS IS WRONG !!! GOD DID NOT CREATE THEM FOR THIS PURPOSE for you or anyone to treat in this manner or to consume . DOG =GOD…

  16. Chris Casper on October 9, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Oakland should not participate in the “friendship city” program with Pyeongtaek, South Korea until they stop torturing and killing dogs and cats for consumption. These are our companion animals. Barbaric practices like this must stop and we should not be a part of it by inadvertently condoning it.

  17. Sue Owen on October 9, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    Please put an end to the barbaric practice of animal abuse – eating dogs and cats. Dogs and cats are sentient creatures, and not created to be eaten. There are so many alternative forms of protein rather that obtaining it by slaughtering innocent animals. Please use your influence to protect our fellow creatures. Thank you.

  18. Marc G. on October 9, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    End the horrible dog and cat meat trade !

  19. Daria C. Norton on October 9, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Please use this new connection to advocate for an end to the dog and cat meat trade. There is no excuse for the cruelty which these animals suffer.

  20. Salvatore Privitera on October 9, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Please help stop the dog and cat meat trade. Thank you

  21. Shasha on October 9, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Dogs and cats are like people/children…should not be used for meat and abused/hurt. Please help the people find a different protein source. Factory farming of any animal is not good…too much abuse and not good food/sunlight/exercise or a good life. Please help stop dogs/cats from being used for meat. Thank you!

  22. Jesus on October 9, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Now you have blood on your hands. Please now do something with your influence! This isn’t a cultural issue, how would any of you like to be boiled alive? Cruelty in any culture is NOT something to continue. It should be stopped now! Honestly you don’t need a brain, maybe a heart though!

  23. Lorine on October 9, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    Shame on you!! This is inhuman i would never want to be a part of this country ir visit!!

  24. C J Uhlir on October 9, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    I do not know what to say; willfully, deliberately subject a sentient creature to such pain and suffering – it’s pure evil.
    The same is happening in China, Vietnam, Philippines; this entire race is evil.

  25. Wild Animal on October 9, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Are you aware that among dog eaters and their suppliers, it’s believed that the meat tastes better if the animals suffered when dying – the more suffering, the better the taste. These people aren’t civilized. Why do you want them for your sister city?

  26. Rupert Veitch on October 9, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Why is Oakland North a friend to a city that tortures cats and dogs to death? Skinned alive, burnt to death, electrocuted, bludgeoned, boiled alive.
    Why are you friends with these people?

  27. L.K. on October 9, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    There is no place in a civilized country for the deliberate torture of animals.

  28. Jeanette Holmgren on October 10, 2017 at 12:21 am

    Id is absoultely sickening the way these animals are treated. To sadisticly torture animals before murdering them is barbaric to say the least.

  29. Cathy Whaley on October 10, 2017 at 12:28 am

    Please use your compassion and power to make a difference to these poor sentient animals who have no voice and are being tortured daily. Thank you

  30. Annica Eriksson on October 10, 2017 at 12:28 am

    Stop the evil, barbaric and horrifying cat and dog meat trade. It´s sickening how this can go on and how these poor animals suffer. SHAME ON U EVIL PEOPLE AND COUNTRY!!!Aa

  31. ginger neimo on October 10, 2017 at 1:06 am

    No animal should be eaten. All animals feel pain. Why love one and kill another.

  32. Sandra Neuser on October 10, 2017 at 2:00 am

    Please do not allow legalization. Please finish this horror. This is unnecessary, unspeakable suffering!

  33. Anne Nonis on October 10, 2017 at 5:56 am

    The suffering of these dogs is unImaginable. This has to end!

  34. Gary on October 10, 2017 at 7:06 am

    There is no place for this brutality in society. This must end

  35. Jackie Anthony on October 10, 2017 at 7:14 am

    real humans produce dog and cat food,NOT food out of dogs and cats! These animals have done so very much for mankind that it is unconscionable to torture and abuse like this! Please stop there horrible acts. There must be another way for these people to make a living. If we help provide them with the tools and knowledge I know they can make a better life without the torture of loving animals.

  36. R on October 10, 2017 at 8:10 am

    How can it ever be acceptable to even consider legalising this hell on earth. the world watches and prays a forward thinking humane society makes it 100% illegal to keep buy or kill a dog or cat for meat or otherwise

    Send a very clear message to these monsters that this will never happen .unforgivable

  37. Cinzia on October 10, 2017 at 8:30 am

    please help animals and stop killing pets, they are family.

  38. Clarice Wilby on October 10, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Please help the companion animals, cats and dogs, of South Korea that are subjected to barbaric and inhumane treatment whilst being slaughtered for human consumption.
    Thank you for your attention.

  39. Deanna Horton on October 10, 2017 at 11:56 am

    This cruelty to dogs must stop! How can you sleep at night knowing these dogs are being tortured and butchered EVERY DAY??!!! Disgusting how you treat your animals – where is your empathy? How can you look into those eyes you are about to butcher and eat and NOT FEEL ANYTHING??!! What kind of human are you???!! STOP this cruelty!!!

  40. Michelle Storace on October 10, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    This is disgusting information that we would partner up with people that believe that it is all right to eat cats and dogs And that the more pain that they feel the better the meat is to eat And giving students from that country a break as far as education when we have a many children of our own here that need it is despicable This information makes me sick to my stomach. Not one mention in this article about the horrific sadistic abuse that happens to animals in their country This news is sickening and disgusting

  41. pamela elness on October 10, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Please have NOTHING to do with a country that tortures dogs and cats!! Do you know anything about their Boknal Dog Meat Festival?? Find out about it and sever all ties with SK until they outlaw this barbarism, the way Taiwan did earlier this year. It is most definitely NOT good PR for Oakland!!!

  42. Austin Stoner on October 10, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Please use your position of authority to bring about paramount welfare changes for the millions of dogs and cats suffering and awaiting brutal slaughters for their meat in South korea! Every bit we do matters . Lets do for them what they have given us all their lives-loyalty and love!

  43. janice han on October 10, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Millions of dogs and cats are lingering in torture and pain , living an existence worst than death. They need us for a shot at freedom and love!

  44. harley wong on October 10, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    We are humans, not beasts deprived of compassion or the ability to differentiate between right and wrong and moral and immoral. Stand above greed and we can achieve respect and dignity that man’s best friends deserve.

  45. Karen Green on October 10, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Oakland is my hometown. I was born there and lived there for years, and I still feel fondness for its life, culture, and natural beauty…and even its problems. PLEASE encourage your sister city in China to STOP the hideous and barbaric dog and cat meat trade. It is cruel beyond imagining. There are more important things in life than
    “delicious taste.” For the sake of kindness and civilization, urge that these atrocities cease.

  46. Mel x on October 10, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Stop the animal cruelty, these dog farms are a disgrace and this shouldn’t be happening…it’s sick!

  47. Fateh on October 10, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    I hope the Mayor urges the leaders of Pyeongtaek to immediately end their blatant ignorance of the sadistic dog and cat meat trade occurring in their city.

  48. misa y on October 11, 2017 at 2:17 am

    Please make sure with the mayor of pyeongtaek there won’t be any evil dog and cat meat trades in thier city. Live stock animals are already suffering enough, unnessary animlal torture should be banned for good.

  49. Dina on October 11, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    You should not be sister city. They allows cruelty and torture to occur, dog meat trade!

  50. Marie-Françoise on October 11, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    I imagine that amongst all the members of your Municipal Council some have an animal? What is their reaction when they learn that the Town twinned with theirs is continuing this horrible trade in dog and cat meat knowing that the more these animals undergo the worst cruelties! How can one smile at this city and pretend that nothing has happened?
    Please tell your twin city that you are outraged, it is inconceivable that you close your eyes, think of these animals, they are the same as yours!

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