Sharing the common values of individual liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, the Republic of Korea and NATO have developed a cooperative relationship since late 2005.
In 2005, then-Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon paid a visit to NATO Headquarters in Brussels and made a speech to the North Atlantic Council(NAC), the principal political decision-making body of NATO, expressing Seoul's hopes for exploring possibilities of cooperation between the Republic of Korea and NATO.
At the 2006 Riga Summit, NATO leaders pledged to increase the operational relevance of relations with interested "Contact Countries." Consequently, steps were taken to strengthen NATO's ability to work with potential contributors to NATO operations who share NATO's interests and values. Referred to as one of the "Contact Countries", Korea, along with other partners such as Japan, Australia and New Zealand, has an interest in deepening its ties with NATO.
Since the 2008 Bucharest Summit, Korea is referred to as "partners across the globe" or simply "global partners", which also include Afghanistan, Australia, Colombia, Iraq, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand and Pakistan.
The Republic of Korea and NATO have held High-Level Policy Consultation meetings on a regular basis since 2008. The annual meeting has served a good avenue for both sides to share strategic concerns and to enhance mutual understanding.
Furthermore, the Republic of Korea has been invited to NATO's tailored cooperative package of activities open to partners of NATO. More importantly, the Republic of Korea and NATO signed an Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme(IPCP) in 2012 and renewed the IPCP in 2017. This programme has served as a very concrete road map to broaden our interaction in a number of areas and the IPCP will help further develop cooperation on issues where we have interests through regular renewals.
To contribute to international peace and stability, the Republic of Korea had worked alongside the NATO Allies in Afghanistan as a contributing country to the International Security Assistance Force(ISAF) since April 2010 and helped Afghan people restore peace and pursue economic and social development through the establishment of the Korean Provincial Reconstruction Team(PRT) in the city of Charikar in Parwan Province. The Korean government handed over the Korean PRT to Afghan authorities in December 2012 after concluding most of reconstruction project as planned and withdrew its PRT gradually by the year 2014 in accordance with transition progress in Afghanistan.
Putting aside operation the PRT, Korea has contributed to achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan through various ways such as deploying engineering and medical units, and providing financial assistance to the Afghanistan National Army Trust Fund(ANA TF) and other funding streams. In particular, we contributed $200 million to the ANA TF from 2011 to 2016, which is a considerable amount considering that our total financial contributions during that period was $500 million. Korea reaffirmed its commitment to contributing $45 million annually from 2018 to 2020, a total of $135 million, for the capacity building of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.
And the Republic of Korea and NATO maintain a strong political dialogue at all levels - for instance, Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, then-Secretary General of NATO, visited Korea in April 2013, and the North Atlantic Council met with then-Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se in October 2016 and then-Foreign Vice Minister Ahn Chong-ghee in December 2016. Also, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, visited Korea in November 2017.
[Updated on 3 January 2018]