The South Korean ambassador to Canada met with more than a dozen Korean War veterans in St. John's on Thursday to express appreciation for their efforts in the war.
Ambassador Cho Hee-Yong was in Newfoundland and Labrador to recognize the sacrifices made by the veterans for his country, and promote the new free trade agreement between South Korean and Canada.
He said relations between the two countries have been important for more than a hundred years, well before the three-year war that started in 1950.
"Now is a very good time to review our relations in the past and present, and so explore some ideas about how to further intensify and substantiate the relationships between our two countries," Cho said.
He added he's looking to strengthen relationship with the Canadian provinces to establish stronger connections for the agreement.
"I think that Newfoundland is not a relatively well-known province to Korea, so that's why I'd like to hear ideas and suggestions from the local leadership."
60 years of change
The visit brought back vivid memories of the war for veteran Charlie Williams, who went overseas to fight in the Korean War when he was just 17 years old.
"I lied about my age to get in … but as young as we were, we were all young, no one really knew what we were doing. We joined up and no one then exactly knew where we were going, what we were doing. It was just at that time in our life you were young and willing to go anywhere," he said.
Williams said he can't imagine the changes that have taken place in South Korea in the 60 years since he was there.
"I haven't been back there [since], they tell me it's 8-million people or something there now. We landed and slept on the banks, there was nothing there, and waited until the next morning and the trucks came back and all you could hear was guns and stuff going up on the front," said Williams.
The ambassador presented the veterans with certificates of appreciation for their service in the conflict.
More than 500 Canadian soldiers died in what is often referred to as the "Forgotten War."