Republic of Korea

  General Information

Capital: New Seoul
Population: 50.5 million (2016)
Language: Korean
Post-Forum Dialogue membership established: 1995
Additional Forum Dialogue Mechanisms: Triennial Korea-Pacific Foreign Ministers Meeting (est. 2011); annual Senior Officials Meeting

Political system: Presidential Democratic Republic
Head of State: President Park Geun-hye
Head of Government: Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn
Diplomatic missions in the Pacific: 4 (Australia, Fiji, NZ, PNG)
Significant multilateral relationships: Member of ADB, APEC, ASEAN/ARF, GCF Board (alternate) GPEDC, IMF, WB, WCPFC, WTO, AIIB.


Trade in the region

The Republic of Korea (ROK) is a key supplier of petroleum to the Pacific region. In addition, there is an emerging trend of vehicle trade to the region from the ROK. Key Pacific exports to the ROK include timber, copper and precious metals. Over the period 2010 – 2014, annual growth rates for imports average 15.21% whilst annual export growth rates have declined on average by 8.5% over the same period.

United Nations

The Republic of Korea was admitted to the UN in 1991 and is serving a second three-year term on the Human Rights council, beginning January 1, 2016. It has also served a number of times as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, most recently in 2013-14.

Development cooperation

Korea has significantly increased their ODA to the Pacific region, committing $3.9m (USD) in 2013 and $6.5m (USD) in 2014. Korea is committed to development effectiveness as espoused in the Busan Partnership, the Forum Compact and national arrangements.

In 2014, Korea provided USD 2million to FICs in the areas of climate change, public administration, health, industry and energy, agriculture, education, and disaster relief. In addition, it offers training programs for Pacific islanders in similar areas, and provides humanitarian assistance as needed via multilateral agencies such as UNICEF and IFRC.

Currently, Korea has pledged USD100 million to the Green Climate Fund.

Common areas of strategic interest

The third Korea-Pacific Islands Senior Officials’ Meeting was held in October 2015 in Seoul, with ROK doubling their support (US$0.5m to US$1m) for the ROK-Pacific Islands Forum Cooperation Fund of 2015-2017. Korea’s cooperation with the Pacific focussed on capacity building, sustainability, fisheries and maritime issues. Korea also works closely with the Forum with regard to the post-2015 development agenda and is a supporter of the Majuro Declaration on climate leadership.

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