City of Clarksville welcomes South Korean visitors
Clarksville, TN – An 11-person delegation from Gunpo, South Korea, recently completed a Sister City visit to the City of Clarksville that included tours of City facilities, a local factory and visits to RiverFest and local entertainment venues.
In 1999, Gunpo and Clarksville both approved an agreement establishing a Sister City relationship, designed to expand cultural understanding and cooperation.
In recent years the agreement has taken on even more relevance, as two huge South Korean companies — LG Electronics and Hankook Tire — have decided to bring operations to Clarksville.
Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan noted that the Gunpo delegation was especially proud to visit Hankook, and they were excited to tour the USS LST-325, a tank-transport ship that docked at McGregor Park during Riverfest, and learn about its service during the Korean War.
“It was ironic that I had to miss the first day of the Gunpo visit because I was in Washington, D.C., testifying in support of LG at an U.S. International Trade Commission hearing,” Mayor McMillan said. “But Gunpo Mayor Kim Yoon Joo thanked me for helping LG, and it served to underscore the deepening relationship between Clarksville and our South Korean friends.”
The concept of Sister Cities began in the aftermath of World War II, when the Eisenhower administration promoted diplomacy on a people-to-people basis as a way to help build trust and understanding among nations and perhaps to build a more lasting peace.
Mayor Kim Yoon Joo recalled an earlier Sister City visit to Clarksville in 2012.
“I have been looking forward to the honor of returning to Clarksville,” Kim said during the welcoming ceremony. “I feel like I’m returning to the home of an old friend.”
The Rev. David Lee, a local minister and Clarksville Police Chaplain who came to the United States 30 years ago from South Korea, served as tour host and interpreter. Lee was assisted by Korean-American Association of Clarksville President Sonny Campbell, Vice President Terry Jalinsky, and Robert Brooks, the group’s Gunpo Liaison.
The Gunpo delegation got a deep look at city infrastructure and facilities during a tour of Clarksville’s water plant, at CDE-Lightband’s new control center, at CPD’s firing range and training center, and at a City Council meeting.
The next day included the visit to Hankook, lunch at Old Glory Distillery, a tour of Beachaven Winery, a farewell ceremony at Freedom Point, and a visit to RiverFest and the USS LST-325.