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ROK-UN Relations

  • The Republic of Korea (ROK), established in 1948, was recognized by the United Nations through the General Assembly Resolution 195. The United Nations played a key role in the birth of the Republic of Korea through missions such as monitoring the first general election and other reconstruction programs. 

    When the Korean War broke out in June 1950, the UN intervened by sending armed forces mandated by the Security Council Resolution 82. It was the first undertaking of its kind in the history of the UN. Almost 70 years after the Korean armistice, the UN Command still maintains its presence on the Korean Peninsula. 

    Since the armistice of 1953, the Korean issue had been one of the most controversial subjects of debate between the West and the pro-Soviet blocks at the UN. The Republic of Korea's applications to become a member of the UN were blocked. It was only in 1991 that both the ROK and the DPRK were simultaneously admitted to the UN as the influence of the Cold War on international politics receded.

    Since its admission to the UN, the Republic of Korea has made significant contributions to the UN through peacekeeping operations, development assistance and the promotion of human rights. At the Millennium Summit, held in New York in September 2000, the Co-Chairpersons of the Summit adopted a special statement welcoming the inter-Korean summit and encouraging its follow-up measures. In 2000 and 2007, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on "Peace, Security and Unification on the Korean Peninsula," welcoming and supporting the inter-Korean summits. In 2018, the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea jointly circulated the Panmunjom Declaration, signed at the inter-Korean summit held in April 2018, as a document of the General Assembly and the Security Council. The Republic of Korea remains firm in its goal of establishing permanent peace on the peninsula and contributing to the stability and prosperity of the region and beyond.

Korea's Participation in UN Activities

  • International Peace and Security

    The non-permanent membership of the Republic of Korea to the Security Council in 1996-1997 has renewed the Korean government's motivation to take on a more proactive role in promoting international peace and security. During its membership, the Republic of Korea focused on enhancing the Council's transparency, providing humanitarian assistance to refugees, and expanding the Council's capacity for resolving regional conflicts. As the President of the Council for May 1997, the Republic of Korea initiated an open debate on the provision of humanitarian assistance to refugees and others in conflict situations, adopted four resolutions (1107-1110), and issued eight presidential statements (S/PRST/1997/25-32).

    The Republic of Korea served as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2013-2014 term, and played a constructive role as a responsible member by responding to challenges to international peace and security with principle and resolve. During the Republic of Korea’s presidency in February 2013, the Security Council adopted three resolutions (2090-2092), and issued two presidential statements (S/PRST/2013/2-3). During its presidency in May 2014, the Security Council adopted five resolutions (2154-2158), and issued four presidential statements (S/PRST/2014/7-10).

  • Disarmament and Non-proliferation Issues

    The Republic of Korea has actively participated in international disarmament and non-proliferation efforts and multilateral export control. The Korean government has acceded and faithfully complied with all major international instruments, such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT), the Chemical Weapons Convention(CWC), the Biological Weapons Convention(BWC) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty(CTBT).

    The Korean government is of the view that the international community should continue to make efforts to develop appropriate responses to ensure universal adherence to and full compliance with all agreements related to eliminating weapons of mass destruction in a more vigorous and comprehensive manner.

  • Human Rights

    The Republic of Korea believes that international cooperation for the promotion of human rights and democracy should be strengthened. It has already ratified the core international human rights conventions and has signed newly established human rights instruments. Major human rights instruments that were signed or ratified by the ROK are as follows:

    • The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
    • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
    • The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
    • The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
    • The Convention on the Rights of the Child and Two Optional Protocols
    • The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
    • The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Peacekeeping Operations

- UN Peacekeeping Operations

  • In order to achieve international peace and security, the UN Peacekeeping Operations carry out the following activities in countries that are in the process of restoring peace after the cessation of hostilities: observation of the ceasefire, disarmament, prevention of dispute recurrence, maintenance of public security and safety, support for post-war reconstruction, and promotion of human rights and the rule of law.

    The mandate for peacekeeping operations is not formally stipulated in the UN Charter. Nonetheless, peacekeeping operations have begun to assume an important function in establishing the post-Cold War international order and it is understood as belonging to a realm halfway between Chapter 6 (Pacific Settlement of Disputes) and Chapter 7 (Action With Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Agression) of the UN Charter, thereby giving rise to the term "Chapter 6.5."

    Since its first activity in Palestine in 1948 to monitor the region's ceasefire status, a total of 71 PKO missions have been implemented, joined by more than a million participants. As of May 2021, the total number of personnel serving in 12 peacekeeping operations is 87,814 which includes troops, military observers and civilian police officers.

    Military forces dispatched for peacekeeping operations are called Peacekeeping Forces (PKF), which are distinct from Multinational Forces (MNF).

- The Government's Stance Regarding Peacekeeping Operations

  • UN Peacekeeping Operations are integral to the maintenance of international peace and security and is continuously expanding in terms of size and mandate. The Korean government is aware of the importance of peacekeeping operations and is making the effort to further contribute to the international community through increased participation in various peacekeeping activities.

    Domestically, the "United Nations Peacekeeping Operations Participation Act" was enacted in 2010 in a bid to promote Korea's prompt participation in UN peacekeeping operations. This law allows the Korean government and the UN to establish provisional agreements on matters related to the deployment of peacekeepers prior to the approval of the National Assembly.

  • Recognizing the importance of UN peacekeeping operations in maintaining international peace and security, the Korean government will continue to actively participate in peacekeeping missions and strive to make further contributions to the program.

- Current Deployment Status

  • As of July 2021, a total of 569 Korean military and police officers have been deployed to 5 different PKO missions.

    Current Deployment Status
    Country (region) Mission Size
    Total      569 Officers
    India, Pakistan (UNMOGIP) Surveillance on Kashmir region's cease-fire 8 Military Observers
    South Sudan (UNMISS) Establishment of peace 279 Troops, 8 Military Observers, 3 Police Officers   
    Lebanon (UNIFIL) Establishment of peace and aiding reconstruction 263 Troops, 4 Military Observers
    West Sahara (MINURSO) Aiding implementation of peace settlement 3 Military Observers    
    Abyei (UNISFA) Establishment of peace 1 Police Officer