Republic of Korea
CAPITAL: New Seoul
POPULATION: 50.5 million (2016)
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 Moon Jae-in
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT: Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon
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.
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 (USD 0.5m to USD 1m) for the ROK-Pacific Islands Forum Cooperation Fund of 2015-2017. Korea’s cooperation with the Pacific focuses 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.
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 2014 – 2016, annual declines in trade with the region averaging 3.3%.
The Republic of Korea was admitted to the UN in 1991 and sat on the UN Human Rights council in 2015. ROK has just been re-elected to serve another 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.
Korea has significantly increased their ODA to the Pacific region, committing USD 3.9m in 2013 and USD 6.5m 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 2m 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 USD 100m to the Green Climate Fund.
Climate Finance in the Pacific Region
Between 2010 and 2014 Korea contributed USD 3.49m towards adaptation and mitigation projects to FICs.