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ROK-UN Relations

  • The Republic of Korea was established in 1948 and its government was recognized by the United Nations through the General Assembly Resolution 195. The United Nations played a key role in the birth of the Republic of Korea through such missions as monitoring the first general election and other reconstruction programs.

    When the Korean War broke out in June 1950, the United Nations intervened, under Security Council Resolution 82, by sending armed forces to repel the Communists' aggression. It was the first undertaking of its kind in the history of the United Nations. Now, almost 50 years after the Korean armistice, a UN command is still present on the Korean Peninsula.

    Since the armistice of 1953, the Korean issue had been one of the most controversial subjects of debate between the western and pro-Soviet blocks at the UN. Applications by the Republic of Korea to become a member of the UN were blocked. It was only in 1991 that both the ROK and the DPRK were simultaneously admitted to the UN as the Cold War structure of global politics receded.

    Since its admission to the UN, the ROK has made significant contributions to the work of the UN through peacekeeping operations, development and the promotion of human rights. In particular, the United Nations recognized the ROK's efforts toward peace and reconciliation during the Millennium Summit of the UN, held in New York in early September 2000, through the adoption by the Co-Chairpersons of the Summit of a special statement welcoming the inter-Korean summit and encouraging its follow-up measures. On October 31, 2000 the General Assembly adopted a resolution entitled "Peace, Security and Unification on the Korean Peninsula," co-sponsored by 157 nations, including both Koreas. The Republic of Korea remains firm in its goal of establishing permanent peace on the peninsula and contributing to the stability and prosperity of the region and beyond.

Korea's Participation in the UN Activities

  • International Peace and Security

    The membership of the ROK to the Security Council in 1996-1997 has provided us with a renewed motivation to take on a more proactive role for the promotion of international peace and security. During its membership, the ROK focused on upgrading the Council's transparency, protecting humanitarian assistance to refugees and others, and enhancing the Council's capacity for resolving regional conflicts. During its presidency, the ROK initiated an open debate on the protection for humanitarian assistance to refugees and others in conflict situations, adopted four resolutions(1170-1110), and issued eight presidential statements(S/PRST/1997/25-32).

    The Republic of Korea was elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2013-2014 term at the 67th session of the UN General Assembly on October 18, 2012. Serving as a non-permanent member of the UN Secirity Council for the 2013-2014 term, the Republic of Korea will make every effort to contribute in meaningful ways to the maintenance of internaional peace and security.

  • Disarmament and Non-proliferation Issues

    The Republic of Korea has actively participated in international disarmament and non-proliferation efforts and multilateral export control. The Korean government has acceded and faithfully complied with all major international instruments, such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT), the Chemical Weapons Convention(CWC), the Biological Weapons Convention(BWC) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty(CTBT). The Korean government is of the view that the international community should continue to make efforts to develop appropriate responses to ensure universal adherence to and full compliance with all agreements related to eliminating weapons of mass destruction in a more vigorous and comprehensive manner.

  • Human Rights

    The Republic of Korea believes that international cooperation for the promotion of human rights and democracy should be strengthened. It has already ratified the core international human rights conventions and has signed newly established human rights instruments. Major human rights instruments that were signed or ratified by the ROK are as follows:

    • The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
    • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
    • The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
    • The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
    • The Convention on the Rights of the Child and Two Optional Protocols
    • The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
    • The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

PKO

UN Peacekeeping Operations

  • To the end of achieving international peace and security, the UN Peacekeeping Operations carry out the following activities in countries in the process of restoring peace after the cease of hostile activities: observation of the cease-fire, disarmament, prevention of recurrence of disputes, maintenance of public security and safety, support for post-war reconstruction, and promotion of human rights and the rule of law.

    The mandate of PKO is not formally stipulated in the UN Charter. Nonetheless, as it has begun to assume an important function in establishing post-Cold War international order, PKO has been understood as belonging to a realm halfway between the UN Charter chapter 6, which sets forth a peaceful solution to conflicts, and chapter 7 on measures against threats to peace, destruction of peace, and acts of aggression, thereby attaining the term chapter 6.5.

    Since its first activity in Palestine in 1948 to monitor the region's cease-fire status, a total of 71 PKO missions have been implemented in about 124 countries, joined by more than a million participants. As of March 2018, about 104,657  troops, civilian police officers, and military observers are participating in 14 PKO missions.

    Military forces dispatched for PKO missions are called Peace-keeping Forces (PKF), which are distinct from Multinational Forces (MNF).

The Stance of the Government of the Republic of Korea

  • UN Peace-keeping Operation is integral to maintaining international peace and security and is continuously expanding in terms of its size and mandate. The government of ROK is aware of the aforementioned importance of PKO and making effort to strengthen its contribution to the international society by increasing its participation in various peace-keeping activities.

    Domestically, the "Act on Participation in UN PKO" was enacted in 2010 in a bid to promote ROK's prompt participation in UN PKO. This law allows the ROK government and the UN to establish provisional agreements on matters related to the deployment of about 1,000 peace-keepers prior to the approval of the National Assembly.

    "Act on Participation in UN PKO" was enacted on Jan. 25, 2010 (effective as of 2010.4.26)
    Recognizing the importance of UN PKO that facilitates the maintenance of international peace and security, the government of ROK will continue to actively participate in PKO missions and make constant efforts to improve its contribution to the program.

Current Deployment Status

  • As of March 2018, a total of 649 Korean military and police officers have been deployed to 6 different PKO missions.

    Current Deployment Status
    Country (region) Mission Size
    Total 649 Officers
    India, Pakistan (UNMOGIP) Surveillance on Kashmir region's cease-fire 7 Military Observers
    South Sudan (UNMISS) Establishment of peace 292 Troops, 7 Military Observers
    Lebanon (UNIFIL) Establishment of peace and aiding reconstruction 329 Troops, 4 Military Observers
    Sudan-Darfur (UNAMID) Aiding implementation of peace settlement 2 Military Observers
    West Sahara (MINURSO) Aiding implementation of peace settlement 4 Military Observers
    Haiti (MINUJUSTH) Aiding implementation of peace settlement 4 Individual Police