The Republic of Korea is one of Romania’s most important partners in the Asia-Pacific region. Diplomatic ties were established on March 30, 1990, based on a protocol signed in Seoul. That same year, embassies with resident envoys were opened both in Bucharest and Seoul, according to information posted on the Romanian Foreign Ministry’s website.
Ties between the two countries were further enhanced with the signing of Strategic Partnership, the first between Romania and an Asian nation. The Joint Declaration for the creation of the Strategic Partnership was signed during a September 2008 visit to Korea by President Traian Basescu. In July 2010, during Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Baconschi’s visit to Seoul, a Joint Action Plan was signed for the implementation of the Strategic Partnership Declaration, which sets the medium- and long-term cooperation framework between the two countries, in several fields of activity.
Economic ties between Romania and Korea are also marked by strong collaboration and growth. On December 31, 2009, the total volume of trade between the two countries was at USD 677.151 M, of which Romanian exports reached USD 198.911 M and imports were at USD 478.24 M.
In a ranking by countries, the Republic of Korea is second as destination of Romanian exports and third as a source of imports from the Asia-Pacific region. The main exported products are machines and equipment (41.25 per cent), metal and metal items (33.43 per cent), these two groups accounting for about 75 per cent of exports to the Korean market. Plastic materials, wood, optical and photographic instruments are also among the top exports and Romania intends to diversify the range of exported goods with IT products, electronic parts, wood furniture, glassware, food products, wine and others.
Imports from Korea mainly consist of cars, electronic products and telecommunication equipment, metal and metal items.
The Republic of Korea ranks 30th in the chart of foreign investors, according to data released on March 31, 2010. The value of social capital of companies with Korean participation amounts to USD 75.9 M, which accounts for 0.23 per cent of the total social capital of foreign participation companies. A total of 158 Korean capital companies are currently activating in Romania.
Under the Cultural Collaboration Agreement sealed between the Romanian and Korean governments in 1991, regular cultural exchange programmes are conducted, which include film screenings, artistic shows and art exhibitions, book donations and others.
In September 2008, a Collaboration programme in education and culture was signed by the two countries’ governments in Seoul, for the 2008-2011 period.
University scholarships are granted every year. The Bucharest University includes a Korean language department, while the Hankuk International Studies University in Seoul also has a Romanian language and civilisation department with over 160 students.
Moreover, Hankuk University in Seoul is twinned with several schools in Romania, including the Bucharest University, the ‘Alexandru Ioan Cuza’ University in Iasi and the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca.