The Republic of Korea and Japan are close neighboring countries with a rich tradition of exchanges and cooperation, and are important partners that share similar values and interests. The Korean Government has adopted a two-track approach in its relations with Japan, continuing cooperation in strategic and mutually beneficial fields such as the North Korean nuclear issue, economy and culture while taking a firm stance on history issues.
As of 2020, the trade volume between the ROK and Japan amounted to $71.1 billion and people-to-people exchanges reached 0.9 million.
In the face of enhanced nuclear weapons and missile threats from North Korea that reached unprecedented levels, progress was made also in the field of defense cooperation. In November 2016, the two countries signed an agreement on the protection of classified military information. The agreement will enhance both countries’ abilities to deal with North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile threats, and contribute to ROK-US-Japan trilateral cooperation.
With regard to the Dokdo issue, however, the Korean Government has dealt firmly and resolutely with any claims made by the Japanese Government denying Korean sovereignty over the islets, which have been an integral part of Korean territory historically, geographically, and under international law. It is the basic position of the Korean Government that ROK-Japan relations should be based on a correct understanding of history.
Issue of the Victims of ‘Comfort Women’ by the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War
Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1992, the Republic of Korea and China have witnessed a rapid development of their relations in various fields. In just 28 years, the annual trade volume and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries increased about 43 and 76 times respectively. Based on the "Strategic Cooperative Partnership" established through the mutual visits by the two heads of states in 2008, the two countries have been exerting greater effort to enhance their relations, sharing the strategic goal of maintaining peace and prosperity in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia.
In particular, the two countries have been strengthening political credibility and advancing the "Strategic Cooperative Partnership" by bolstering exchanges between high profile dignitaries. In 2012, five successful summit-level meetings as well as five foreign ministerial dialogues and one vice ministerial strategic talks between the two countries were held. Moreover, as of 2012, China was the ROK's largest trading partner and the ROK was China's third largest trading partner. Cooperation between the two countries in the economic field is expected to strengthen further based on the "Korea-China Economy and Trade Cooperation Vision Report", signed in 2009. Cultural exchanges have also been steadily promoted with the continued spread of the Korean wave(Hallyu) in China and the Chinese wave(Hanfeng) in the ROK. Such cultural exchanges have deepened the mutual understanding that will lay the foundation for future-oriented the ROK-China relations. In June 2013, following the state visit to China by President Park Geun-hye, the two countries adopted the joint statement of future vision for ROK-China relationship, which is expected to serve as a landmark and a blueprint for furthering and developing the strategic partnership. In July 2014, during Chinese President Xi's state visit to the Republic of Korea, the two leaders adopted a joint statement to further enrich the strategic cooperative partnership.