The Mayor of Seoul was welcomed on a visit to New Malden last week (May 4).

The visit of Park Won-soon came as part of a joint effort to strengthen the trading partnership between London and the South Korean capital which also saw Mr Park meet with his London counterpart Sadiq Khan.

As the Surrey Comet has previously reported, New Malden is home to the greatest concentration of Koreans in Europe — including some 20,000 South Koreans and over 7,000 North Koreans defectors.

It was this strong Korean community in New Malden who took the lead in hosting Mr Park, with New Malden residents accompanying him on a tour of the Cocks Crescent site planned for redevelopment.

Over the last few months, Young Ji Yang, the council’s secondee from the Seoul Metropolitan Government, has been working to improve engagement with the Korean community in New Malden and develop plans for the future of Cocks Crescent.

The party, which also included members from Kingston Borough Council (RBK), discussed ideas for a potential Seoul Garden as part of plans to celebrate London and Seoul’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed five years ago.

Nazeya Hussain, Kingston Council’s Director of Growth and Strategic Business, said:

"It was a great privilege to host the Mayor of Seoul in New Malden.

"The council welcomes the potential for greater collaboration with the Korean community and local people in creating a vision for Cocks Crescent."