Enjoying the Excitement of Diplomatic Relations

A unique experience of the Plus3 Korea Program was the opportunity to visit the U.S. Consulate in Busan, and attend a presentation with American Diplomat, Daniel Gedacht. Gedacht provided insight regarding the mission and representation of the United States in South Korea ranging from a diverse sphere of political, economic, and cultural affairs. Gedacht discussed the tensions between Korea and Japan, specifically relating to the Japanese’s illegal occupation of the peninsula from 1910-1945, and the resentment that can be felt during current periods of geopolitical tension from citizens of both nations due to this sad history. However, Gedacht emphasized that both South Korea and Japan are strong allies of the United States in the Pacific, and displayed optimism of the new generation of citizens in these nations to restore relations between these geographic neighbors and economic powerhouses. Relating to economics, Gedacht discussed the eruption of successful business ventures in Busan, specifically due to the operation of ports along the coast. This industry, along with many others relating to shipping, has driven the emergence of American entrepreneurship in the region. The U.S. Consulate acts as a resource to these American citizens from assisting in the business visa process to compiling data about economic conditions of the country that entrepreneurs can rely on during critical decision-making periods. Furthermore, the U.S. Consulate seeks to reiterate the American commitment to celebrating the culture of the nation. Korean influence is increasing in the United States, described as “Hallyu”, which translates into “Korean Wave.” This is reflected in numerous industries such as music, with the appearance of famous K-pop groups like BTS on Saturday Night Live, or even in the beauty industry with cosmetic lines like Tony Moly and Too Cool For School being carried in U.S. stores. Thus, the U.S. Consulate is present at cultural gatherings and events in Korea to continue to support the growing American interests and investment in the nation. I thoroughly enjoyed this site visit because it demonstrated how one can display a global mindset that respects your native culture, but also embraces and explores the differences of a foreign world.

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