The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was inaugurated according to the Government Organization Act, enacted and put into enforcement on July 17, 1948, to be in charge of foreign policy, external economic policy, protection of overseas Korean nationals, assessment of international relations and overseas public relations.
After the Government of the Republic of Korea was founded on August 15, 1948, diplomatic relations were established and overseas missions were set up beginning with embassies or legations in friendly countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France along with representative missions in Japan and the United Nations.
On June 24, 1963, the Educational Institute of Foreign Service Officers (EIFSO) was established under Cabinet Order No. 1358 to be directly responsible to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. On January 5, 1965, EIFSO was reorganized as the Research Institute of Foreign Affairs (RIFA) under Presidential Decree No. 2030 as an educational institution for enhancing the competence of foreign service officers. On December 31, 1976, RIFA was again reorganized as the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFANS) under Presidential Decree No. 8377.
IFANS became the present day KNDA(Korea National Diplomatic Academy) in 2012. Through several stages of expansion, KNDA has established itself as the largest research and training institution of its kind in the nation, serving as a think-tank for foreign policy decision makers and the birthplace for world-class diplomats.
Upon government organizational reforms in 1998, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was reorganized as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade with the incorporation of the newly instituted Office of the Minister for Trade, so as to comprehensively establish and conduct trade policy, negotiate trade agreements, and respond to various overseas economic affairs, according to Presidential Decree No. 15710 of February 28 and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Decree No. 1 of March 3.
In 2013, the Ministry was reorganized again as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, following the Park Geun-hye administration’s reorganization plan.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs establishes and implements national foreign policy, including economic diplomacy and cooperation, participates in various international economic communities, administers treaties and international agreements, protects and supports overseas Korean nationals, promotes cultural cooperation, and analyzes international affairs.
Against the backdrop of a changing diplomatic environment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has accordingly introduced complementary measures to enhance effective diplomacy such as readjustment of human resources and budget. The Ministry has also continued to seek to implement diplomacy that maximizes the national interest of the ROK in the midst of a highly competitive international environment.