In 1999 Jincheon Mayor Kim Kyeong-Hoe, during a visit to the Bay Area, was introduced to Vallejo Mayor Gloria Exline by William Kim, a local businessman and leader in the Korean community. During that meeting, the Mayor suggested a possible sister city relationship. Mr. Kim took the idea to the Korean community where, with the help of Chong Park, Kathleen O’Sullivan, Eugene Redding, and others he garnered the community support that won Commission and Association recommendations to the City Council that they invite Jincheon to become our sixth sister city. On November 27, 2001, after presentations by Brenda Brumfield-Ross, Commission Chair, and Dinah Villanueva, Association President, the Council approved the invitation and directed the filing of papers with Sister City International.
On December 9, 2001, Mayor Kim visited Vallejo as the head of a delegation that included Sang Eun Lim, Director of Projects & Operations, Sung Jin Kim, Secretary General, and Woon Cheol Shin, Director of Culture & Tourism. William and Yolanda Kim made arrangements for the visit that included a December 10 welcome luncheon attended by over 40 local leaders at the Palmer Room of the Hiddenbrooke Golf Club. The event was sponsored, in part, by Asera, LLC and Misawa Homes, U.S.A./Triad Communities, LLC. Mayor Tony Intintoli and Commission Chair Brenda Brumfield-Ross delivered Vallejo’s invitation to become our sixth sister city.
Jincheon formally followed on February 9, 2002. On April 9, 2002, during an official visit to Vallejo, Mayors Intintoli and Kim Kyeong Hoe signed the Memorandum of Understanding cementing the sister city relationship. Among the visiting dignitaries from Jincheon witnessing the ceremony were Councilmen Fung Kwan Sub, Rotary President Lee Seong Jong, Association President Hong Gym Lee, Jincheon Secretary General Kim Sung Jim, and Lee Kyeong Woo.
In October 2003, Assistant City Manager, Mary Hill led Vallejo’s first official visit to Jincheon. Mrs. Hill was accompanied by Dinah Villanueva, Brenda Brumfield-Ross, Tessie Dumalag, and William and Yolanda Kim. During their visit Jincheon officials inaugurated Vallejo Avenue to honor the relationship between the two cities. Vallejo Avenue runs from the Jincheon City Hall toward the sports complex on the edge of town. The delegates also attended the World Taekwondo Hwarang Festival in which athletes from 33 countries competed.
In 2004, officials in both cities provided a video hookup that allowed city officials to meet with their counterparts dealing with similar civic responsibilities like police and fire protection, public works, parks, and recreation. The exchange of ideas helped both cities improve services.
William and Yolanda Kim also arranged to bring a Little League Basketball team from Vallejo to play a friendship game with a similar team in Jincheon. This visit led to a visit of the Jincheon team to Vallejo for a return match. For both visits, local families hosted the young athletes.
On May 27, 2008, a delegation of seven Jincheon city officials led by Jung Kwang Sub, City Council Chair, paid an official visit to Vallejo where they were greeted by Mayor Osby Davis. The delegation was in the country to visit U.S. Olympic training facilities as Jincheon had been selected as the site for building similar facilities for Korean athletes training for Olympic competition. William and Yolanda Kim hosted a private party honoring our guests at their home in Benicia.
On February 19, 2010, Mayor Yoo Young-Hun led a delegation including Ueon-Jong Kim, Chief of International Business Affairs, Nae Hee Lee, Manager of Business Development, Euncheon Lee, Chief of Sister City Affairs, Byung Mo Park, Editor of the Choong Chung Times, and Hyenan Jin, Interpreter on a planning visit to Vallejo to discuss plans to strengthen the ties between the two cities. The visitors were feted at a banquet at the Front Room at the Wharf attended by several city officials, Commission Chair Dinah Villanueva, and Association President Paul Ligda.
On June 29, Mayor Osby Davis led a delegation of eleven on an official visit to Jincheon. The trip was planned by William Kim to coincide with the 2010 Taekwondo Explosion held in nearby Muju and included Dan and Nelly Buan, Ward and Elissa Stewart, Paul Ligda, Brandy Ligda, and Nancy Yingst. The Vallejo contingent was greeted by Governor Young Hoon Yoo, provided visits to several city departments and their managers, some local businesses, the Bell Museum, and the Nong Bridge over the Segeumcheon River. The trip coincided with Mayor Yoo Young-Hun’s inauguration ceremony for his second term in office as Mayor of Jincheon.
In 2011, Jincheon sent a delegation that included Seon-Gu Hwang and Kwan-Woo Lee of the County Office International Relations Team to coordinate plans to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the relationship between the two cities. Dinah Villanueva, William and Yolanda Kim took the lead in planning for the visit.
On April 16, 2012, Mayor Yoo Young-Hun arrived in Vallejo as head of a delegation of 13 that included Gyu-Chang Lee, Chair of the City Council, Kim Yoon-Hee, City Councilman, and Kyung Kee Lee, Director of the Planning Department to celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of the sister city relationship between the two cities. They were greeted at City Hall by Mayor Osby Davis and Vice Mayor Erin Hannigan and officials from the city, Commission, and Association before sitting down to a round table discussion during which both mayors urged the attendees to exchange ideas of substance that would take the relationship beyond the ceremonial exchange of pleasantries. The mayors formally signed a re-affirmation of the original memorandum of understanding at a formal dinner hosted by Mayor Davis at the World Classics Event Center on April 16. The next day, the Koreans hosted a farewell luncheon at the Front Room at the Wharf.
On July 17, 2018, Councilmember Rosanna Verder-Aliga led a delegation of 21 that included a girls’ basketball team coached by Myisha Albert to Jincheon from Akashi where all had participated in events marking the 50th anniversary of Vallejo’s relationship with that city. They were met at the airport by William Kim who, with Commission Chair Pelton Stewart had arrived previously with a team of taekwondo athletes to participate in friendship competition and other events marking the 16th year of the sister city relationship with Jincheon. The delegation was housed in the Soo Hotel.
On the 18th, the delegation toured the completed Korean Olympic Village, crossed the Nong Bridge, and walked to the National Athletes Village where they were treated to lunch. That evening the City Council sponsored a dinner reception
On the 19th, the taekwondo and girls’ basketball competed against the Korean teams with the taekwondo athletes faring somewhat better than the overmatched girls who lost to their Korean hosts 34-63. Vallejo hosted the Farewell Dinner Party that evening that included Mayor Ki-Sup Song and Yun Hyuk Hun, Head of International Affairs, as attendees. The next day the delegation traveled to Seoul and spent the afternoon shopping before checking in to the Sejong Hotel for the rest necessary to be packed and ready for the 4 a.m. ride to the airport for the flight to the Philippines the next day.