Posted by: rbbadger | August 28, 2011

Busan’s Chinatown

I didn’t know this until recently, but Busan has a Chinatown.  Located conveniently across from Busan Station, there are some shops specializing in Chinese things as well as restaurants, a Chinese-speaking church, and Chinese language schools.  (I am told that Mass is offered in Chinese regularly in the Busan Diocese.  I am going to have to visit.)

There are Chinese communities in Korea.  The largest, perhaps, is located in Incheon.  I once had the experience of ordering food in Korean from the Chinese restaurant, only to be told in good English, “I’m Chinese.  You don’t need to speak Korean to me.” 

Unfortunately, I was not able to get a good shot of this, but the Chinese Middle School bears the white sun and blue sky emblem of the Kuomintang and the Republic of China (Taiwan).  This intrigued me, given that bulk of the foreign Chinese here in Korea come from the People’s Republic of China.  It is interesting, but there is even support for Taiwan’s return to mainland control by some Chinese dissidents.  The Taiwanese, not surprisingly, are not eager to be under mainland domination.  They now possess one of East Asia’s most vibrant democracies. 

Korea was one of Taiwan’s closest friends and allies.  However, in the 1990s, like most of the world, they switched their diplomatic representation to Beijing.  Taiwan, like in most places around the world, has an unofficial ambassador who runs the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Seoul.  Taiwan only has diplomatic relations with about 22 nations. 

In Chinatown, there are a lot of Russian shops as well.  Being as Busan is a major port city, there is a large amount of trade that happens between Russia and South Korea.   There’s also a Filipino restaurant I am going to have to try one of these days.

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