Embarking on a journey of cultural exchange and collaboration, Pueblo and Gunsan City have set the stage for a blossoming sister city partnership, weaving connections between the United States and the Republic of Korea.
On December 5, 2023, the City of Pueblo in the US state of Colorado and Gunsan City in the Republic of Korea signed a letter of intent to establish friendly relations. Along with representatives from the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Pueblo Sister City Commission, the letter of intent was signed during a Zoom meeting by Mayors Nick Gradisar of Pueblo and Im June Kang of Gunsan City.
Pueblo and Gunsan City can start working together thanks to this initial step in the sister city procedure. Michael Salardino, the president of the Pueblo Sister Cities Commission, Dennis Flores, the vice president of the city council, Sergeant Frank Ortega, a member of the Pueblo Police Department, and Donielle Kitzman, Ray Erjavec, and Erik Segall, the members of the Sister Cities Commission, were also present. In the fall of 2022, Councilor Dennis Flores, President Patty Erjavec, Dean of Arts and Sciences, and Young Kim of Pueblo Community College accompanied Mayor Nick Gradisar on a trip to South Korea. While on the tour, the Pueblo delegation met with representatives from Kunsan National University to discuss partnerships in education and workforce training, as well as representatives from CS Wind to discuss future expansion with the company in Pueblo.
A delegation of academics and administrators from Kunsan University in Gunsan City paid Pueblo a visit in April of this year. Meetings with CS Wind and PCC during the tour included topics such as exchange student programming and collaborative plans. Opportunities with agriculture, education, culture, economic development, safety, tourism, and other mutually beneficial cooperation are frequently included in sister-city nations.
On April 4, 2023, CS Wind America, a South Korea-based company that manufactures towers for large wind turbines supporting businesses such as Vestas Wind Systems, GE, Siemens Gamesa, and Nordex, expanded its operations with a groundbreaking ceremony. The three-phase expansion is expected to provide around 850 jobs when it is finished in 2028. With this development, CS Wind will be able to produce up to 10,000 wind tower sections annually, which will be delivered throughout North America. Currently, the company produces 2,500 wind tower parts annually. "CS Wind will increase their employees at the Pueblo plant to meet the increased demand for wind tower manufacturing, and they are working with community partners such as Pueblo Community College to ensure training and employment needs are met," stated Gradisar.
In concluding this pivotal moment in local-level diplomatic relations, the signing of the letter of intent between Pueblo and Gunsan City represents more than a mere formal agreement; it signifies the dawn of a strengthened and enduring partnership between the United States and South Korea. The commitment expressed by Mayors Nick Gradisar and Im June Kang transcends geographical boundaries, opening a gateway for mutually beneficial collaborations that extend beyond the confines of the two cities. The spirit of cooperation and goodwill exemplified in this agreement serves as a testament to the power of international partnerships in fostering global harmony and progress.
Shubhankar Agarwal is a Young Professional at the East-West Center in Washington, DC. He is a graduate student at American University’s School of International Service, where he is focusing on global governance, economic, and gender issues in the Indo-Pacific region.