Germany–South Korea relations

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Germany–South Korea relations


South Korea

German-South Korean relations were established in the 1950s and play a vital role in the foreign policy of both countries today.

Historical background

The Korean state of Joseon first established diplomatic relations with the German Empire under the Germany–Korea Treaty of 1883 which remained in effect even after Korea's annexation by Japan in 1905.[1]

In 1955, West Germany officially recognized South Korea as a sovereign state.[2]

Present situation

Since the German reunification of 1990, much effort has been undertaken by both countries to improve diplomatic relations with each other. In the mid-2000s, the Germany–Korea Treaty of 1883 was renewed by both countries and was officially put into effect on December 19, 2008, as a form of commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the original treaty.[3]

On December 20, 2012, the German chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Park Geun-hye on her appointment as President of South Korea and invited her to make an official visit to Germany. Both politicians stressed the importance of furthering and strengthening the "traditionally very good ties" between the two countries.[4] Merkel has also vowed to assist in the potential challenges of future Korean reunification, since Germany underwent a reunification itself.

Country comparison

South Korea Republic of Korea Germany Federal Republic of Germany
Population 50,620,000 82,060,000
Area 100,210 km2 (38,690 sq mi) 357,021 km2 (137,847 sq mi)
Population Density 493/km2 (1,280/sq mi) 246/km2 (640/sq mi)
Capital Seoul Berlin
Largest City Seoul – 10,464,051 (24,472,063 Metro) Berlin – 3,431,700 (5,000,000 Metro)
Government Unitary presidential constitutional republic Federal parliamentary republic
Official languages Korean German (de facto)
GDP (nominal) US$1.151 trillion ($23,020 per capita) US$3.66 trillion ($44,660 per capita)


  1. Korean Mission p. 36., p. 36, at Google Books; excerpt, "Official rescript issued by Japan, November 22, 1905, declares: 'In bringing this agreement to the notice of the powers having treaties with Korea, the Imperial Government declares that * * * they will see that these treaties are maintained and respected, and they also engage not to prejudice In any way the legitimate commercial and industrial interests of those powers in Korea'."
  2. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic of Korea: Germany
  3. Beziehungen zwischen der Republik Korea und Deutschland, Foreign Office (Germany) (in German)
  4. Presse- und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung, Foreign Office (Germany) (in German)