The Korean War of the 1950s left the Gunsan area relatively unscathed. The initial drive south by the Communist North Koreans pushed the United Nations and South Korean forces toward Busan so quickly that Gunsan was spared from protracted fighting.
Nevertheless a battalion of Korean Marines, entrenched in the hills above Gunsan Port, withheld overwhelming communist forces. Their bravery created extra time for the evacuation of the town and port. The action is commemorated with a monument on the ridgeline where the heaviest fighting occurred. ()
The drive north by the United Nations forces occurred so rapidly that there was little direct confrontation in the area. After the cessation of hostilities, the United States Air Force occupied nearby Kunsan Air Base, which has had an impact on Gunsan City.
Kunsan Air Base was originally constructed, under Japanese direction, by reclaiming mudflats starting in about 1923. Kunsan Air Base has hosted a variety of USAF combat aircraft. The proximity of US service members to Gunsan City has provided some economic growth to Gunsan City, but the base's influence has waned since the 1990s as a result of a more powerful and diversified Korean economy. The downtown shopping districts that catered to US troops have transformed into areas that are indistinguishable from surrounding areas that serve Korean shoppers. Only a few remaining stores hint at the area's previous manifestation as an American shopping district. Still, a small town (Okku-Silver Town, or more popularly America Town) still caters to US troops. Located about 5 kilometers from the main gate of Kunsan Air Base, America Town hosts a multitude of bars, dance clubs, restaurants and souvenir shops.
Today, Gunsan's economy thrives on fishing, agriculture and heavy industry located west of the city in the reclaimed area known as the Industrial Zone. Perhaps most notably, Daewoo Motors operates a factory here which assembles the Daewoo Kalos, car also sold as the Chevrolet Aveo in the US and as the Holden Barina in Australia and New Zealand. Near the port the Tata Daewoo Commercial Vehicle factory is located which produces Daewoo trucks for the domestic and the exporting market. In the domestic market vehicles are sold under Daewoo brand however Tata brandname is used for export due to the dilution of Daewoo brand.
Gunsan's most three famous tourist attractions are Gogunsangundo, Eunpa park and Geum river. Gunsan Islands are a group of islands consisting of 16 inhabited islands and 47 uninhabited islands. Gogunsangundo Islands constitutes Shinsido Island, Munyeodo Island, Bangchukdo Island, and Maldo Island, and Seonyudo Island is the center of the islands. Among the isles, Seon-yu Isle has been long recognized as one of the Seon-yu Eight Famous Spots which are renowned for their natural beauty. Passenger ship to Seonyudo Island operates average 6-8 times a day. Depart time differs each month depending on the differences on the tied ebbs and flows.
'Eunpa' has a meaning Silver Wave because of its feature of shining water under sunshine. Originally it was a reservoir for agriculture, but designated as National Tourist Place in 1985. In spring, a 1-km cherry blossom tunnel is formed from the entrance to the facility compound. In summer, people can enjoy wind surfing and boating in the acacia fragrance. In fall, people can enjoy walking along a promenade stretching from the meeting square at the entrance while picking up chestnuts. It is not only as local representative, but also as the nation's tourist place with a mixture of Mulbit(Water and Light) Bridge with 370m length and 3m width. Music fountain operates 8times, 20minutes per round. It selected as one of 100 Big Noted Tourists in Korea in the 'Creating a Good Place to Live' Local Resources Contest.
River mouth bank constructed at he river mouth of Geum Rivers, which was the gate way of Baekje in 1990. It is spotlighted as the largest migrant bird's colony in Korea with reed forests. It become a nation's famous place because of grand sight of many uncommon migratory birds such as Baikal teals, wild ducks, mallards, wild geese, herring gulls, black head gulls, black head Kentish plovers, etc., and approximately 500,000 winter migrant birds of 40 types visit between mid-October and March. 360-degree observatory center helps to observe migrant birds of Geumgang River area easily and in detail and Bird Watching Gallery is the only bird watching facility in Korea to observe migratory birds at the closest distance.