SALT LAKE CITY - Introducing Robert E. Mansfield, the Honorary Consul to South Korea. Honorary Consul to South Korea, Robert E. Mansfield, is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. His relationship with South Korea began after graduating high school when he enlisted in the United States Army. Mansfield served in Korea between 1983 and 1984, following in his father’s footsteps, who served during the tail-end of the Korean War in 1953.
Mansfield has served as the Honorary Consul of South Korea for the past eight years, after the Honorary Consul of Ukraine, Jonathan Freedman, suggested that he should seek the opportunity. A graduate of the University of Utah’s Law School, Mansfield is an experienced commercial trial lawyer, and the skills from his profession transfer over to his role as a Honorary Consul. In particular, his expertise in negotiation and persuasion allow him to foster strong relations between Utah and South Korea.
In his time as Honorary Consul, Mansfield cites his advocacy for the Korean War memorial in Memory Grove Park as a special experience. Memory Grove Park, located near the Utah State Capitol, contains a memorial honoring the veterans who fought in the Korean War. This memorial featured a map of the East Sea, the body of water separating Japan and the Korean Peninsula, labeled as the Sea of Japan. The name of this sea is a very important issue to the Korean people: during the time Korea was occupied by Japanese soldiers, Japan sought to have the name changed and Korea was not in a position to defend the historic name. Mansfield was influential in getting the name on the memorial changed to the East Sea, making this the first and only such memorial to use the East Sea, rather than the Sea of Japan.
As Honorary Consul, Mansfield has several goals to foster relations between the US and South Korea. His first goal is to promote Korean culture in Utah. He helped form a group called Friends of Korea with the goal of promoting Korean culture in Utah by working closely with members of the Korean community. Another way he works with Korean expatriates living in Utah is through the Korea Federation. The Federation participates in the Utah Asian Festival each year in June. The festival strives to promote Asian culture, including those of all the Asian and Pacific Islander countries in Utah. In addition, Mansfield hopes to continue to act as a lobbyist for the country to ensure that the Korean community in Utah has more political sway by trying to get the Korean community to band together and speak out in a unified manner. He also has regular contact with the Consulate in San Francisco to promote issues important to Korea. His third goal regarding Utah-Korean relations is to promote trade between Utah and Korea. He has worked with Utah companies who are doing business in Korea to help solve any problems they may encounter and has held multiple seminars on doing business in Korea to promote this connection.