The US ambassador to Seoul has defended his resolution to develop a moustache, with some South Koreans bristling that the facial hair is disrespectful and a calculated slight.
Harry Harris took over as US ambassador to South Korea in July 2018 after a distinguished 40-year profession within the US Navy.
Clear-shaven while an admiral within the navy, Mr Harris instructed The Korea Instances that he determined to develop a moustache to mark his profession change.
“I needed to make a break between my life as a navy officer and my new life as a diplomat”, he mentioned. “I attempted to get taller, however I couldn’t develop any taller, and so I attempted to get youthful, however I couldn’t get youthful. However I might develop a moustache, so I did that”.
Mr Harris was responding to the suggestion that his new moustache was an insult to Korea.
The US authorities has been roundly criticised in South Korea after Donald Trump introduced the US would demand $5 billion a yr to maintain troops in South Korea.
Because the face of the US administration in South Korea, Mr Harris has borne the brunt of a lot of the criticism.
The second strike in opposition to Mr Harris is his ethnicity. The son of a US Navy officer and a Japanese mom, Mr Harris was born in Yokosuka, south-west of Tokyo, resulting in allegations that he has a pure affinity for Japan – which has a sophisticated historical past with the Korean Peninsula.
The peninsula grew to become a Japanese protectorate in 1905 and a part of the Japanese empire from 1910 till the tip of the Second World Warfare in 1945.
Some South Koreans have accused Mr Harris of sporting a moustache that harks again to the years of colonial rule on the grounds that each one eight Japanese governor-generals of Korea additionally had moustaches.
Shrugging off the controversy, he mentioned: “All I can say is that each resolution I make relies on the truth that I’m American ambassador to Korea, not the Japanese-American ambassador to Korea”.
Requested if he supposed to shave his moustache off to quell the criticism, Mr Harris replied, “You would need to persuade me that someway the moustache is considered in a method that hurts our relationship”.