LOS ANGELES, July 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea appointed former Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup Monday as honorary consul in the U.S. state of Arizona.
The South Korean consul general in Los Angeles, Shin Yeon-sung, presented him with a certificate of appointment during a swearing-in ceremony at the office of U.S. Rep. Ron Barber in Tucson, Shin's office said.
As honorary consul, Walkup will work to protect overseas Korean nationals. He also will act as a liaison officer for the promotion of trade and investment as well as cultural and educational ties between South Korea and Arizona.
"Arizona is so important to Korea," Shin said. "We do need to feel the presence of Korea there to overcome the shortcomings and difficulties of being far away."
Barber also said Walkup is well qualified for the post.
"Bob Walkup has a long and accomplished background -- in manufacturing, in aerospace engineering, in management and as our mayor," he said, "I know that he will be an excellent representative for the people of the Republic of Korea and for the people of Arizona." An estimated 50,000 Koreans live in the state.
Walkup served as Tucson mayor from 1999 to 2011, during which time he maintained close relations with the Korean community there.
An Army veteran, he was an engineer and executive in the aerospace industry for 35 years.
South Korea has more than a dozen honorary U.S. consuls, mostly in medium-size cities with no consulate. Honorary consuls are paid about $2,500 a year, and Seoul notifies the U.S. State Department before naming them, according to diplomatic sources.