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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 94.7% of its energy and natural resources consumption. In 2016, Korea spent 80.94 billion USD on importing energy and resources(Yearbook of Energy Statistics 2017), equivalent to nearly 19.9% of its total amount of imports. With such high dependency on energy imports, Korea is extremely vulnerable to the changes of the global energy market including a rise in price and a supply-demand imbalance. Further, 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 86% 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 is strengthening international cooperation on energy and responding proactively to the changes in the global energy security environment.

    Notably, Korea has 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 with those countries. In particular, Korea has promoted dialogues with the United States, which has emerged as a major energy exporter with the shale revolution, and Japan which shows high dependence on energy imports as does Korea to enhance energy cooperation.

    Moreover, Korea is actively involved in global efforts to make a transition to a low carbon economy in the energy sector, which have been gaining momentum after the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015. In particular, Korea joined the efforts to launch the Mission Innovation.

    Based on the heightened international recognition of Korea‘s nuclear power plants, the Korean government is continuously exerting diplomatic efforts to expand further its nuclear power plants exports in major countries.

    Korea is also 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). Moreover, Korea has been hosting a wide range of energy-related international events to strengthen global cooperation on energy.