- It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the website of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The United Kingdom, as the cradle of parliamentary democracy, the birthplace of the industrial revolution, the country of Shakespeare and the Beatles and the host of the Premier League and the Wimbledon Tennis Championship, is a country many Koreans are familiar with. The cultural reach of the country is strengthened by London, the largest city in Europe and one of the two most important financial centres in the world.
The ROK and the UK’s relations date back to 1883 with the signing of the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation, which Korea signed with the Western powers after signing with the United States of America. Since then the bilateral relationship has transformed into a bond between like-minded countries sharing crucial values such as commitment to democracy, the market economy and human rights. The relationship is forged in blood since the UK provided the second largest contingent of troops of more than 80,000 to Korea during the Korean War (1950-1953). The courage and sacrifice of those troops are still vividly remembered by way of the Gloucester Valley Battle Monument in Paju, Gyeonggi Province together with the Korean War Memorial in Victoria Embankment Gardens alongside the river Thames in London.
These bilateral ties which have gone from strength to strength since those early days are deepening across an array of areas of mutual interest. Alongside close ties in political and economic affairs, our countries work together more often than ever on culture, energy, science and education. These wide-ranging relations are befitting of the title of “Comprehensive and Creative Partnership” which we agreed between our countries in November 2013.
As one the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and as a key member of NATO, G7, G20 and the Commonwealth, the UK has been exercising its leadership in regional security issues in Europe, Africa and the Middle East and global issues such as development cooperation, climate change and counter-terrorism. The ROK has been working closely with Britain in tackling global issues including peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue. Moreover, the bilateral economic ties have also shown remarkable growth over the years with the two-way trade volume reaching a record of $14.4 billion in 2017. Many Korean companies in diverse sectors such as finance, the automobile industry, home electronics, petroleum and gas, ship-building, marine transport and distribution are conducting business in the UK.
Similarly, it is very encouraging that young British people are increasingly more interested in the Korean language, Korean culture and the situation on the Korean Peninsula, going above and beyond the well-known affinity to K-pop, K-drama and Korean food. We see a constant flow of young British visitors to the Korea Culture Centre located in the vicinity of Trafalgar Square. In particular, the 2017-18 Korea-UK season cultural programmes are contributing significantly to promoting mutual understanding between the peoples of our two countries.
Now, our bilateral relationship is faced with new opportunities as well as challenges. With Britain exiting the EU next year, our two countries are working hard to put in place institutional mechanisms that will enable the bilateral relations to flourish in the years ahead. As the UK, pursuing the vision of Global Britain, reestablishes its relationship with the EU in an amicable way and seeks to strengthen its relations with countries beyond Europe, particularly with Asia, we will be met by another opportunity to further expand and deepen ROK-UK ties.
As our bilateral relationship continues to strengthen, the Korean community, estimated to number around 40,000 in the UK, will be able to find more opportunities as well. The Embassy will continue to do our best to promote the safety and interests of Korean nationals residing or visiting the UK. As part of this effort, the Embassy expanded the consular office earlier this year and is currently remodeling the Embassy building, a project to be completed by the end of this year.
We will continue to keep you abreast of useful information through this website and hope that you will find the resource helpful.
Ambassador of the Republic of Korea