SEOUL, KOREA — This year’s February 25 will mark the fourth anniversary since The President’s inauguration in 2008, when he set out to revive the economy and make Korea a contributing member of the international community through diplomacy.
Subsequent action plans and efforts towards a campaign of global diplomacy and revitalization of the economy have come to fruition over the last four years. Despite the two rounds of global economic crises occurring at the ends of 2008 and 2011, Korea managed to maintain its unprecedented economic growth with a record-breaking annual trade mark of USD 1 trillion last December.
According to a report released on February 2 by the Samsung Economic Research Institute (SERI) released in cooperation with the Presidential Council on Nation Branding, Korea ranked 15th on the Nation Brands Index, a three-place jump from its ranking in 2010.
SERI analyzed how Korea’s hosting of international events such as the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and the 2011 Daegu IAAF World Championships alongside the Korean wave and an upswing in global activities by Korea’s multinational corporations have contributed to Korea’s move up in the rankings. In addition, the policy geared towards global diplomacy by the current administration also served instrumental in raising the nation’s brand awareness.
Four years geared towards global diplomacy
In November 2010, Korea garnered recognition in the global arena by hosting the first G20 Summit to ever take place in Asia, bridging the gap between advanced and developing countries. The inclusion of development issues into the mainstream of the G20 agenda is another major outcome of the Seoul G20 Summit. In March this year, the Korean capital is once again welcoming world leaders for the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit.
Throughout his presidency, Korea’s president has strived to bolster friendly and cooperative bilateral ties under the slogan “Global Korea,” with allied and neighboring nations. The President’s visit to the U.S. in last October advanced the already strong ROK-US alliance, increasing the scope of cooperative measures in security, economy, and international affairs.
The administration resumed its “shuttle diplomacy” between the two heads of state, which entails reciprocal visits and building future-oriented Korea-Japan relations and a mature partnership based on pragmatic diplomacy.
Korea strengthened its bilateral ties with Russia through a series of summits in the sector of energy and resources, including the development of East Siberia and a PNG project to build gas pipelines connecting the two countries through North Korea.
Pursuant to the administration’s vision of building an East Asian New Cooperation Network, Korea has actively engaged in summit diplomacy with China, consolidating the tripartite collaboration involving Japan. The country exerted efforts to deepen the scope of cooperative measures with ASEAN, India, Oceania, and other Asian nations.
The President has opened a new era in Korean diplomacy, last July making the first state visits to Africa by a Korean head of state, establishing a new platform for advancing further into the continent. With Europe, The President has deepened the strategic partnership in the realm of economy, concluding the Korea-European Union free trade pact, which went into effect on July 1, 2011.
Recent years have witnessed a larger role for Korea in the international arena, in efforts to fight poverty and disasters across the globe. Under the slogan “Global Korea,” the country has made considerable efforts in performing its duty as a responsible and contributing member of the international community by gradually increasing official development assistance (ODA) and actively participating in United Nations peacekeeping operations.
In November 2009, Korea joined the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), becoming the 24th member of the Committee. The unprecedented transformation from aid recipient to donor nation aroused international attention and a once-struggling nation has now risen as an exemplar model for the leaders of developing nations.
Last year, Korea once again played a mediator role at the fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (www.aideffectiveness.org/busanhlf4) held from November 29 to December 1 in Busan, following its inclusion of development issues on the agenda for the Seoul G20 Summit.
Korea continues to extend the scope of its involvement in UN peacekeeping missions in a bid to ‘pay it forward’ to the international community. A contingent of Korean peacekeeping troops has successfully carried out missions while dispatched in regions where helping hands are needed, including Afghanistan and Somalia.
Task Force Danbi (meaning “long-awaited rain” in Korean), while deployed in the city of Léogâne in Haiti, has provided support to the quake-ravaged state towards reconstruction in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake. Over the two years in the discharge of duties, the medical officers of the Korean task force have also offered treatment to more than 30,000 patients along with hope and encouragement to the Haitian people.