Vietnam, S. Korea work towards happier transnational marriages

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Vietnam and South Korea encouraged a crackdown on illegal marriage brokers and the establishment of more support centers for foreign spouses at a recent forum on transnational marriages held in Hanoi Friday.

Speaking at the Vietnamese-Korean Marriage Forum, the first of its kind, Nguyen Thi Thanh Hoa, head of the Vietnam Women's Union, said authorities in the two nations should more stringently control marriage brokering services, many of which seek only profits rather than to create viable marriages.

Nguyen Quoc Cuong, a senior official from Vietnam's Ministry of Justice, said expeditious marriages between Korean nationals and their Vietnamese spouses have led to poor relationships and many unsuccessful marriages.

Cuong suggested Vietnam and Korea should sign a bilateral agreement in relation to family and marriage.

Yang Seung-ju, head of the Family Policy Bureau under RoK's Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, said the RoK is currently home to over

Some 20,500 Vietnamese brides, most of whom hailed from rural areas and had a poor command of the Korean language.

Statistics from the bureau revealed that three out of ten Vietnamese brides only knew their husbands-to-be by photos.

In addition, some 20 percent of Vietnamese brides know very little about Korean culture and lifestyle, she said.

Yang said the Korean government is drafting laws to more closely observe marriage brokerages involving its citizens.

The new laws could be in force as early as next year.

This year, Korean authorities launched support programs in Ho Chi Minh City for prospective Vietnamese brides preparing to migrate to Korea.

Elsewhere in Korea, local authorities organized programs which gave Korean language classes and other educational support to immigrants in 29 localities.

Next year the programs will be expanded to 230 sites.

In 2007, some 38 support centers for foreign spouses were set up in the nation and the number is expected to increase to 80 in 2008.

The moves came after the deaths this year of two young Vietnamese brides in Korea, Huynh Mai and Kim Dong, as a result of mistreatment by their husbands.

The forum was organized in correlation with the celebration of the 15th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Korea.

Reported by Hai Binh Huong Lan

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