Since establishing diplomatic ties in 1963, the ROK and the EU have steadily developed relations based on democracy and the rule of law. In October 2010, bilateral relations were further upgraded to a strategic partnership based on the revised Framework Agreement and the ROK-EU FTA. Furthermore, the ROK and the EU agreed to their "Future-oriented Partnership" on the occasion of 50th anniversary of diplomatic establishment in November 2013.
The EU continues to further cement and enhance its status as a global player since the Lisbon Treaty. The ROK aims to further strengthen cooperation with the EU on bilateral, regional and global issues, based upon shared universal values such as democracy, free trade, human rights and the rule of law.
The ROK concluded a key agreement with EU, the Framework Agreement for the participation in EU Crisis Management Operations. Upon its entry into force of in 2016, the Cheonghae Unit has been participating in EU’s counter-piracy operation (Atalanta), contributing to significantly further expanding the ROK-EU cooperation on the global challenges such as counter-piracy.
Economy and Trade
The ROK and the EU are important trading partners. In 2016, the volume of bilateral trade between the two sides was up to 98.5 billion US dollars. In 2016, the EU was the largest foreign investor to the ROK in terms of cumulative total since 1962. The EU investment in the ROK stands at US$ 88.8 billion.
The main EU exports to the ROK are automobiles, equipment for semiconductor, medicine etc. The main imports from the ROK to the EU are ships, automobiles, automobile parts, mobile phones etc.
Bilateral Agreements : The Framework Agreement on Trade and Cooperation between the ROK and EU entered into force on 1 April 2001. In 2007, the Council of the EU called for an updating of this Agreement as part of a wider strengthening of bilateral relations. The Framework Agreement (FA) was signed on 10 May 2010 and entered into force in June 2014.
The negotiations for the ROK-EU Free Trade Agreement(FTA) started in April 2007 and took 8 rounds of negotiation until the agreement was signed on 6 October 2010. The FTA entered into force on 13 December 2015.
In May 2014, the ROK and EU signed the Agreement establishing a framework for the participation of ROK in EU crisis management operations on 23 May 2014 and entered into force on 1 December 2016.
On the occasion of the foreign ministerial talks at the East Asia Summit (EAS) held in Vietnam on October 30 and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Summit held in Kazakhstan on December 1, the foreign ministers of the ROK and Russia agreed to maintain close cooperation for the resolution of North Korea's nuclear program and various global issues. Other high-level exchanges were also actively made in many different areas in 2010.
In its first year in office in 2013, President Park administration promoted summit diplomacy and high-level exchanges with Russia, which is one of Korea's four major neighboring countries. In particular, it held two rounds of summits with Russia, and the ROK Senior Secretary to the President for Foreign Affairs and National Security participated in the 4th International Meeting of High-level Officials Responsible for Security Matters, which was hosted by Russia in 2013.
President Putin visited the Republic of Korea for the first time for one of the leaders of Korea’s four major neighboring countries in November 2013 and held the second summit of that year with President Park. The two Presidents shared in-depth discussions on a wide array of topics such as ways to enhance cooperation in various fields and boost people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the ROK and Russia, the situations in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia, and the two countries’ cooperation in the international area.
In addition, the two Presidents established an institutional framework to enhance people-to-people exchanges and mutual cooperation through two intergovernmental agreements made by both countries in November on the occasion of the summit: the agreement of visa exemption for holders of ordinary passports and that for the establishment of a culture center.
In 2014, the two countries expanded their bilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas including politics and security, economy and trade and cultural and people-to-people exchanges with a view to build future-oriented and mutually beneficial bilateral relations as strategic partners.
The two leaders met on the sidelines of various multilateral meetings held in November 2014 such as the G20 Summit and APEC Summit and reaffirmed their commitment to the stable development of Korea-Russia relations. In addition, the two countries held consultations to seek ways to increase practical cooperation through various intergovernmental consultative channels such as the High-level Consultative Council, Policy Consultation, Policy Planning Dialogue, Committee for Energy Cooperation, Meeting of the Directors-General for Consular Affairs and Fisheries Committee.
In 2015, the two countries commemorated the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with various events, such as the Eurasia Express.
In the summit between two Presidents held in Paris on November 30, 2015, they shared a common understanding that Seoul's Eurasia Initiative and Moscow's New Eastern Policy, both aimed at common goals, were serving as a driving force in promoting mutually beneficial, substantive cooperation. In addition, they agreed to further develop bilateral relations through cooperation in developing the Far Eastern Siberian region for increased mutual benefits.
On September 3, 2016, a summit between President Park and President Putin was held in Vladivostok, Russia, on the sidelines of 2nd Eastern Economic Forum to which President Park was invited as the guest of honour. The two Presidents discussed the current state of bilateral relations and exchanged opinions on the situation on the Korean Peninsula, including North Korean issues, particularly its nuclear development. The two Presidents also took note of the strategic value of the Russian Far East and agreed to expand substantive cooperation in the region.
Since President Moon Jae In came into office in May 2017, ROK-Russian Summit was held on the occasion of G20 summit in July, The two countries are exerting great efforts to substantially strengthen the strategic partnership.
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 67million and among them, approximately 55% are Uzbek. In terms of ethnicity, Uzbeks and Kazakhs form a majority while considerable amount of Russians also reside in the region. Also, about 300,000 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 14 the ROK-Uzbekistan, 13 the ROK-Kazakhstan, 3 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$, while the import was 320 million US$. The accumulative sum of Korean investment to Central Asia recorded an amount of 5.1 billion US$(2016).
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.