Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in September 1990, the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation have deepened their friendly relations across various areas such as politics, business and culture.
Korea and Russia upgraded their bilateral relations to a Strategic Cooperative Partnership on the occasion of the official visit of President Lee Myung-bak to Russia in September 2008. Since then, the two countries have increased high-level exchange and expanded their governmental and non-governmental channels of cooperation.
The two countries have held 16 summit meetings since 2008, agreed to launch a comprehensive dialogue platform for their business, academic, governmental and non-governmental leaders under the name of “Korea-Russia Dialogue” in April 2010, and established a pro-Korea network in Russia called the “Russia-Korea Society” in 2014.
Korea’s exports to Russia amounted to USD 7.3 billion and its imports from Russia to USD 17.5 billion in 2018. Korea’s investment in Russia accumulated to USD 3.7 billion by March 2019.
In January 2014, the Agreement on the Mutual Abolition of Visa Requirements entered into force, boosting the people-to-people exchange between Korea and Russia to reach 695,000 in 2018.
In 2015, the two countries commemorated the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations by holding various events, such as the launching of the Eurasia Express.
As of 2018, there were 6,395 Korean nationals and 163,538 ethnic Koreans living in Russia.
Since President Moon Jae-in took office in May 2017, five Korea-Russia summit meetings took place: on the occasion of the G20 Summit in July 2017, on the occasion of the Eastern Economic Forum in September 2017, and the state visit of President Moon to Russia in June 2018, on the occasion of EAS in November 2018, on the occasion of G20 Summit in June 2018. The two countries are exerting great effort to further strengthen their relations.
Five Cental Asian Countries are consisted of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and the land mass of the region extends to a total of 3,987,000㎢ which is 18 times larger than the Korean Peninsula.
The total population of the region is 71million and among them, approximately 45% are Uzbek. In terms of ethnicity, Uzbeks and Kazakhs form a majority while considerable amount of Russians also reside in the region. Also, about 310,000 Korean descendants are residing in the Russian and Central Asian area.
Due to Central Asia’s well known abundance of energy and natural resources the region is often reflected to be “Another middle east.” Kazakhstan’s Oil, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan’s Gas are the main natural resources of the mentioned countries while Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan is known to be rich in hydro power.
All Central Asian countries have designated Islam as their state religion, but also acknowledge other religions as the Russian Orthodox, providing the right to freedom of religion.
Korea-Central Asia Relations
Upon the foundations of mutually beneficial economic structure and cultural similarity, Korea and the Five Central Asian Countries have forged a remarkably cooperative partnership since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992. Since 1992, there have been 16 the ROK-Uzbekistan, 14 the ROK-Kazakhstan, 5 the ROK-Turkmenistan, 2 the ROK-Kyrgyz Republic, 3 the ROK-Tajikistan summits.
Remarkable progress for comprehensive and diversified regional cooperation has been made through the annual Korea-Central Asia Cooperation forum headed by Vice Foreign Ministers since 2007. Above all, Korean-Central Asia Cooperation Forum Secretariat, a permanent secretariat established for the purpose of facilitating and enhancing multilateral cooperation between Korea-Central Asia for the first time in the international fora was officially launched under the Korean Foundation on the 10th July 2017.
The Export from Korea to Five Central Asian Countries marked 2 billion US$, while the import was 1.1 billion US$. The accumulative sum of Korean investment to Central Asia recorded an amount of 5.4 billion US$(2017).
Approximately 300,000 Korean descendants are residing in the Russian and Central Asian region(Uzbekistan 180,000, Kazakhstan 100,000, Kyrgzy Republic 18,000, Tajikistan 600). This year marks 80th anniversary of the settlement of Korea Diaspora in Central Asia.