South Korean-Vietnamese Lee Chang Kun, who traces his bloodline to 11th-century Vietnamese Emperor Ly Thai To, has been appointed Vietnam’s tourism ambassador for the 2017-20 tenure.
The appointment was made by Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on Tuesday, after considering Lee’s self-nomination for the vacant post.
Born in Seoul, 59-year-old Lee Chang Kun is a 31st-generation descendant of Emperor Ly Thai To, founder of the Ly dynasty and ruler of Vietnam between 1009 and 1028, according to historical records.
During an uprising in 1226 that eventually led to the overthrow of the Ly dynasty, Prince Ly Long Tuong – known in Korea as Lee Yong-sang – fled Vietnam and became a general famous for his role helping Korea defeat Mongolian invaders.
The exiled prince is believed to be the ancestor of a branch of the Lee family today in both South and North Korea.
Today, some 1,500 households in North Korea and 600 in South Korea can trace a connection to Ly Long Tuong, according to David Steinberg’s 2010 book ‘Korea’s Changing Role in Southeast Asia: Expanding Influence and Relations.’
Lee Chang Kun began making numerous visits to his ancestors’ hometown in Vietnam in 1992, and has since been deeply involved in the strengthening of ties between the two countries and peoples.
In 2010, Lee and his family were granted Vietnamese citizenship in recognition of his roots and contributions to Vietnam. He has since resettled in the Southeast Asian country.
In September, Lee nominated himself for the title of Vietnam’s tourism ambassador, citing his pride to be “a child of the Vietnam motherland” and his wish to do everything in his effort to advance the development of the country and further develop prosperous relations between Vietnam and South Korea.
“I want to be a part in Vietnam’s journey to become a world-renowned tourist hub,” Lee wrote in his open letter to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.
Source: Tuoi Tre News