1. On March 27, the first day of the 2023 meeting of the heads of Korea’s overseas diplomatic missions, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Lee Dohoon and 166 mission chiefs had a discussion on “proactive economic security diplomacy”: They, along with relevant experts, exchanged in-depth views on the role and tasks of the diplomatic missions for enhancing Korea’s economic security under the changing international circumstances, such as competition over state-of-the-art science and technologies, and the restructuring of global supply chains.
2. In his opening remarks, Vice Minister Lee noted that setting “proactive economic security diplomacy” as the first discussion topic of the first meeting of mission chiefs in five years testifies to the important role of the overseas missions in detecting risks and seeking out economic opportunities at the diplomatic forefront amid complex global crises.
° In particular, the Vice Minister mentioned that, through the “taskforce for diplomatic support for exports and overseas contracts” of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched last December, Korea will render systematic assistance on Korean companies’ bids to export and land contracts. He also asked the overseas missions to work closely with Korean companies abroad and relevant organizations as one team.
3. The mission heads listened to lectures by Ambassador for Economic Security Lee Jaemin and Ambassador for Science and Technology Shin Sung Chul on ways forward for diplomacy for economic security and on science and technology amid the global supply chain crisis, shared their experiences on the ground, and put forward relevant policies.
° Ambassador to the United States Cho Taeyong mentioned that technologically competitive Korea’s role is growing as economic security is pivotal in Korea-U.S. diplomatic relations. On that note, he stressed that Korea should take an active part in forming a new economic order with a view to maximizing national interests through diplomacy for economic security.
° Ambassador to China Chung Jaeho discussed ways to support Korean companies in China as well as ways to step up multi-layered bilateral cooperation for the stabilization of supply chains in order to continuously deepen and advance Korea-China economic ties, with the end of China’s zero-COVID-19 policy.
° Ambassador to Germany Kim Hong Kyun shared efforts of the European Union (EU) and Germany to address economic security issues, such as diversification of supply chains and introduction of industrial policies, since the war in Ukraine, and suggested potential ways for Korea-EU and Korea-Germany cooperation.
° Ambassador to Indonesia Lee Sang-deok explained that Indonesia is a core partner for cooperation on supply chains as a sourcing country for minerals and other resources as well as a co-partner in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). He went on to set forth ways to reinforce Korea-Indonesia governmental cooperation in support of Korean companies seeking partnership and opportunities in Indonesia.
° Ambassador to Argentina Lee Yongsoo, speaking of the importance of minerals- and other resources-rich Argentina, highlighted the significance of international cooperation in diversifying supply chains of critical minerals, including through the Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) in which Korea is participating.