It has been said that time heals everything. The Koreans and Vietnamese are trying to prove that statement. In this episode a story from The Hankyoreh website titled: Seoul’s Itaewon neighborhood to create Vietnam-themed “Quy Nhon Road” submitted by staff reporter Won Nak-yon is featured. It talks about something the the Itaewon neighborhood of Seoul’s Yongsan District and the Vietnamese city of Qui Nhon are doing to patch up relations with Korea and the people in and around the Vietnamese city.
This story caught the attention of the author because he spent a good bit of time in that city during the late war between the forces of freedom led by the US and the dark forces of communism spearheaded by North Vietnam. He had the opportunity to not only savor the oriental cultural delights of the city but also interact with the Republic of Korea military forces headquartered there.
The ROK Army’s Tiger Division was assigned there and they were no shrinking violets when it came to fighting the VC and NVA. Unfortunately in the type of warfare being employed by the forces of darkness which involved lots of guerilla activity intertwined amongst the civilian population the inevitable occurred. On more than one occasion the Koreans were accused of barbarism and blamed for several atrocities again the local civilian populace.
For years this engendered a fierce dislike of Koreans by the Vietnamese but beginning in 1996 things began to change. An effort to build a relationship with Qui Nhon after South Korea and Vietnam established diplomatic relations began in 1992. A delegation of district representatives from Yongsan visited Qui Nhon and a sisterhood relationship was formed the following year.
This March marks a big step toward a historical reconciliation. A Yongsan District street currently known as Bogwang-ro-59-gil will be renamed “Qui Nhon Road.” The purpose of this action is to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of sisterhood between Yongsan and Qui Nhon.