Relations with the Republic of Korea

  • Last updated: 06 Dec. 2018 10:25

NATO and the Republic of Korea are currently strengthening relations to address shared security challenges. Stabilising Afghanistan has been an important focus of cooperation in recent years.

Left to right: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of the Republic of Korea, Moon Jae-in (November 2017)

  • NATO and the Republic of Korea have been engaged in dialogue and cooperation since 2005. It is one of a range of countries beyond the Euro-Atlantic area – often referred to as “partners across the globe” – with which NATO is developing relations.
  • Since 2012, work is being taken forward through an Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme, which was renewed most recently in November 2017.
  • Beyond cooperation in Afghanistan, political dialogue and practical cooperation are being developed across priority areas, including non-proliferation, cyber defence and counter-terrorism, security-related civil science projects, and civil preparedness and disaster relief.

Key areas of cooperation

The Republic of Korea’s cooperation with NATO is mutually beneficial and includes:

Building capabilities and interoperability

  • Since 2014 under the Partnership Interoperability Initiative, the Republic of Korea participates in the Interoperability Platform that brings Allies together with 24 partners.
  • The country is interested in improving mutual understanding and interoperability through exchanges of civilian and military personnel, participation in education, joint training and exercises, and cooperation in the field of standardization and logistics.

Support for NATO-led operations and missions

  • The Republic of Korea is a significant contributor to stabilisation efforts in Afghanistan. From 2010 to 2013, as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, the country led an integrated civilian-military Provincial Reconstruction Team of some 470 personnel in Parwan Province, which helped build the capacity of the provincial government in the areas of health, education, rural development and governance. The Republic of Korea has also been a generous contributor to the Afghan National Army Trust Fund, with donations amounting to US$200 million to date. Moreover, the country is providing financial support for the socio-economic development of Afghanistan, having contributed US$500 million during the 2011-2016 period and pledged an additional US$255 million in 2016 at NATO’s Summit in Warsaw and the Brussels Afghanistan Conference.
  • Cooperating with NATO in countering the threat of piracy in the Gulf of Aden, the naval forces of the Republic of Korea have provided escorts to merchant vessels passing through the waters off the Horn of Africa.

Wider cooperation

  • NATO and the Republic of Korea continue to cooperate in the area of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. The Allies fully support the goal of complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.  At the 2018 NATO Summit in Brussels, they welcomed the recent meetings and declarations between the leaders of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and between the leaders of the United States and the DPRK, as a contribution towards reaching the final fully verified denuclearisation of the DPRK in a peaceful manner.  The Allies also reiterated their strong condemnation of the DPRK’s provocative rhetoric and actions, which pose a serious threat to regional and international peace, security and stability.
  • The Republic of Korea’s participation in the Science for Peace and Security Programme has included a multi-year project to improve cyber defence through cloud technology and a project aimed at developing new compact sensor systems for unmanned aerial vehicles.