Relations with the Republic of Korea
NATO and the Republic of Korea are currently strengthening relations to address shared security challenges, building on dialogue and cooperation that have been developing since 2005. Stabilising Afghanistan has been an important focus of cooperation in recent years, notably with the deployment by the Republic of Korea of a large contingent to support the NATO-led mission there.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of the Republic of Korea, Moon Jae-in (November 2017)
- The Republic of Korea 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.
- Work is being taken forward through an Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme, first agreed in September 2012 and renewed most recently in November 2017.
- Beyond ongoing cooperation in Afghanistan, political dialogue and practical cooperation are being developed across priority areas, including non-proliferation, cyber defence and counter-terrorism.
The Republic of Korea is a significant contributor to stabilisation efforts in Afghanistan. From 2010 to 2013, the country led an integrated civilian-military Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) 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. As part of the process of transitioning responsibility for security in Afghanistan to Afghan lead, the PRT was phased out and its responsibilities handed over to Afghan authorities. Much of the Korean contingent was reinvested in Bagram, instead of being withdrawn.
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.
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.
NATO and the Republic of Korea initiated dialogue in 2005. At that time, then Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon addressed the North Atlantic Council. Since then, relations have evolved through regular high-level dialogue with the Republic of Korea’s authorities.
In April 2013, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen paid a three-day visit to the Republic of Korea, for talks with President Park Guen-hye and key members of her government to explore opportunities for expanding cooperation.
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Seoul on 1-3 November 2017, where he met with the President of the Republic of Korea, H.E. Mr Moon Jae-in, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Ms Kang Kyung-wha. During his trip, the Secretary General reiterated NATO’s strong condemnation of North Korea’s provocative rhetoric and actions, which pose a serious threat to regional and international peace, security and stability, and ended his trip with a short visit to the Demilitarized Zone.