Aerial view of Cheongju

Population: 663,745
Mayor: Han Beum Deuk
Cheongju contact:
Bellingham contact: Karen Stuen
Major industries:

Agreement date: 2005

Cheongju is the capital city of Chungcheongbuk-do (province), South Korea. The city is located inland and is divided by the Guem River. Since ancient times, Cheongju has been an important town in the province due to the fact that it was the site of the Battle of Cheongju when the Korean military took the city back from Japanese forces. With mountains to both the east and the west, Cheongju is picturesque and serene. It is also the site of several institutions of higher learning including: Chungbuk National University, Cheongju University, Seowon University, Cheongju National University of Education, Chung Cheong College.


Signing the Sister City agreement

The Sister City Relationship

The Cheongju/Bellingham relationship began with board member Lisa Woo’s desire to create a connection with South Korea so that future Bellingham generations could experience Korean culture. Then Mayor, Mark Admundson, fully supported forming a sister city relationship with a city in South Korea and so Lisa began looking for the right city. Cheongju was chosen because of its similarity to Bellingham in area size, distance from a large city, and university-centered culture.

After private discussions between representatives from both cities, a delegation of ten individuals from Bellingham visited Cheongju to facilitate the first stage of official relationship, the Friendship Agreement. Three years later, after several visits both from and to Cheongju, the Sister City Agreement was signed.

Cheongju visitors tour GP site

Currently, there is a pen pal program between children in Cheongju and students at Wade King Elementary School, and in July of 2010, Bellingham hosted 20 fifth grade children from Cheongju for a three-week summer exchange program.

Signing the Agreement Ceremony

Signing the Agreement


Overlooking Bellingham Bay

The Stuens with their host family


Dinner with SMILE members


2010 Cheongju visitors to Bellingham