Germany and the Republic of Korea (South Korea): Bilateral relations

20.03.2024 - Article

The two countries enjoy close relations in a spirit of trust. There are around 36,000 Koreans living in Germany. Korean guest workers (particularly miners and nursing staff) supported the reconstruction of the two countries.

Common political priorities include strengthening democracy and human rights, promoting multilateralism and consolidating the global economic and financial system, as well as participating in international peacekeeping operations and combating the impact of climate change. Along with the members of the G7, the EU, and other countries, the Republic of Korea imposed economic sanctions on Russia in response to its war of aggression against Ukraine.

Germany and Korea have a shared experience of division that has brought the two countries closer together. Since 2011, experts from politics and academia have used the annual meetings of the German Korean Advisory Board to engage in dialogue about the implications of reunification and to develop ideas for the inner-Korean reconciliation process. Since 2002, the German-Korean Forum with representatives of civil society in both countries has met annually to draw up recommendations on how to deepen the wide range of bilateral relations.

With its strong economy and advanced technological capabilities, South Korea is one of Germany’s main trading partners and the third most important market for German goods in Asia after China and Japan. Germany is South Korea’s most important European trading partner with a bilateral trade volume of some 34.6 billion euro in 2022. There are some 540 German companies or firms with German equity participation operating in South Korea, employing a local workforce of approximately 100,000.

South Korea is a global leader in information and communication technology and an important partner for research cooperation. In terms of cultural exchange, German classical music is held in high regard in South Korea, while K-pop and K-drama are becoming more and more popular among the young generation in Germany.

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