- Policy Information
- Treaties·International Law
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The Republic of Korea is the world’s 8th largest energy consumer as well as an energy-poor country that relies heavily on overseas imports for almost 94% of its energy and natural resources consumption. In 2017, Korea spent 109.5 billion USD on importing energy and resources equivalent to nearly 22.9% of its total amount of imports. With such high dependency on energy imports (Monthly book of Energy Statistics 2018/11), Korea is extremely vulnerable to changes in the global energy market including a rise in prices and a supply-demand imbalance. Furthermore, Korea is highly dependent on specific regions in importing energy and resources including oil and natural gas, which adds to its vulnerability in its energy security. In the case of oil, Korea imports approximately 81.7% of its oil consumption solely from the Middle East.
To secure a stable supply of energy and thereby contribute to sustainable economic growth and enhanced national security, the Korean government has been strengthening international cooperation on energy in multiple routes and responding proactively to the changes in the global energy security environment, such as global energy transition.
Notably, MOFA designated 47 diplomatic missions located in major energy-exporting and energy-importing countries in the Middle East, Africa, South and Central America, and Eurasia as“Prioritized Missions for Energy Cooperation.” These missions have made various diplomatic efforts for increased energy cooperation in their respective locations. In particular, Korea initiated bilateral/multilateral dialogues with the United States, which emerged as a major energy exporter following the shale revolution, and Japan, which also demonstrates high dependency on energy imports like Korea, to enhance energy cooperation.
Moreover, MOFA has been actively engaging in discussions on energy at various multilateral forums such as the G20 and APEC, and energy-related international organizations such as the International Energy Agency(IEA) and the International Renewable Energy Agency(IRENA). Korea has also been endeavoring to host a wide range of energy-related international events to strengthen global cooperation on energy.
Based on the heightened international recognition of Korea‘s nuclear power plants, MOFA has been continuously exerting diplomatic efforts to further expand its nuclear power plant exports in major countries.
Lastly, MOFA established the Global Energy Cooperation Center(GECC) in January 2012 under the Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Scientific Affairs Bureau to help Korean corporations advance into overseas markets. Based on the most recent information on energy and natural resources provided by the diplomatic missions of the Republic of Korea, GECC distributed the latest information on the energy industry and natural resources to energy companies, organizations and associations. In addition, GECC rendered its support to help Korean companies overcome challenges that they may potentially face upon entering overseas markets by providing counseling services both in-person and via telephone.
MOFA will indeed continue to exert its sincerest diplomatic efforts to enhance energy cooperation for Korea’s national energy security.