SEJONG-The number of international marriages between a South Korean national and a foreigner inched up last year, ending six consecutive years of decline, government data showed Friday.

There were 21,709 international marriages last year, up 1 percent, or 208, from a year earlier, according to the data by Statistics Korea. Those marriages accounted for 8.3 percent of the country’s total marriages of 264,455 in the same year, up from 7.7 percent tallied in the previous year.

The number of cross-cultural marriages had been on a steady decline since peaking at 35,098 in 2011 as the South Korean government announced a set of measures to tighten fast-rising international marriages in 2010.

Under the toughened guidelines, the authorities require a higher level of Korean-language proficiency and a certain level of income before the issuing of a marriage visa.

Out of the total, couples made up of a South Korean man and a foreign woman accounted for 65 percent last year, followed by foreign male-Korean female pairs.

Vietnamese brides took up 27.7 percent of all marriages tallied, outnumbering Chinese wives at 25 percent.

The data also showed that the divorces of international couples dropped 3 percent to 10,307 last year from a year earlier.

A total of 18,440 mixed-race children were born, down 5.1 percent on-year, they showed.