One of the first things i learnt when studying chinese was the names of different places around the world. Most of the names from places are simply transliterations of their current forms. This means that some chinese characters used to name a place might be replaced with a different one but similar in sound and tone. This is all well acceptable and reasonable.
In the Asia, however, especially in areas where influences and interactions with the chinese are part of a shared and overlapping history, how do “official names” in chinese suddenly change?
I am particularly referring to “Seoul”, from South Korea. I remember particularly well from airport arrivals/destination boards it was once called 漢城, City of Hans. Since when did it change to 首爾？ I believe the latter is a transliteration to the name.
Is there an official committee that decides on these things? (Like how do you name british names like “stratford upon Avon”?)