Diplomacy has changed a lot since the end of the Joseon era – or has it?
One such notorious incident took place on June 29, 1898, between the German Consul Ferdinand Krien, and the Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Yu Kui-whan. Krien claimed that a former minister, Cho Pyun-jik, had agreed to grant a particular mine in Gangwon province to the German firm, E. Meyer & Co., but Yu claimed that this particular mine was being worked by Korean gold miners and could not be granted to the Germans. He did, however, offer to let the Germans choose any other unoccupied mine. A series of missives were sent back and forth between the German consulate and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but very little progress was made and both sides became very frustrated.
According to The Independent, an English-language newspaper in Seoul:
“[Yu] went to the consulate on some disputed business at an hour appointed for a meeting. The Consul met him at the door and, without any explanation, struck Mr. Yu on the arm with an official dispatch from the Foreign Office which the Consul had certain reasons for not accepting. As if this was not enough, he struck the Minister on the breast with his fist and pushed him out of the door throwing the document on the ground.”
You can read more of the incident here – at Korea Times.