Fiji–South Korea relations

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Fiji–South Korea relations
Map indicating locations of Fiji and South Korea

Fiji

South Korea

The Republic of Fiji (or Fiji, as it was then[1]) and the Republic of Korea established official diplomatic relations in January 1971, Korea having recognised Fiji's accession to independence the previous year.[2] There is a South Korean embassy in Suva[3] and a Fijian embassy in Seoul. Relations between the two countries are currently friendly, and are being strengthened at the initiative of the Fijian authorities. Fiji opened its embassy in Seoul in July 2012 to "foster trade and investment" and to "promote people-to-people exchanges".[4][5]

History[edit]

The current "interim government" of Fiji, led by Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, is continuing the "Look North" foreign policy initiated by his predecessor Laisenia Qarase. This includes strengthening diplomatic and economic relations with South Korea,[6] as well as with other Asian countries. Fiji's relations with Western countries are currently poor, due to the lack of democracy in the South Pacific nation, and it is in this context that the Bainimarama administration has turned to Asia.[7] Fiji's Interim Foreign Minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has noted approvingly that South Korea has "not interfered in Fiji's political affairs", and that Fiji-ROK relations have been "cordial"; "The ROK has also been active in the provision of technical and other assistance."[6]

In July 2007, Fiji's Interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry outlined his country's "Look North" foreign policy:

“Fiji has friends in China, it has friends in Korea, it has friends in […] other Asian countries. We’re no longer relying on Australia and New Zealand. And in any event, the United States was not doing much for Fiji anyway.”[8]

An inaugural Fiji-Korea Business Forum and Catalog Exhibition was held in Suva in October 2011, at the initiative of the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency, of Investment Fiji, and of the South Korean Embassy in Fiji. Its aim was to encourage Korean investment in Fiji, and trade between the two countries. [9]

The Republic of Korea describes its current relations with Fiji as "close" and "friendly". The Korean embassy in Fiji notes that "on the international arena such as the United Nations, Fiji has always provided support for Korea, confirming their solidarity and friendship."[10]

In June 2009, the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement, an organisation founded in Australia to campaign for the restoration of democracy in Fiji, protested outside the South Korean embassy in Canberra, asking South Korea to "withdraw support for the military regime".[11]

There are approximately 1,000 Korean residents in Fiji.[10] Trade remains on a low level; in 2011, by November, Korean exports into Fiji were worth about 13.5 million, while Fiji exports to South Korea were worth €11.5 million.[12] Nonetheless, the previous month, the two countries had held "their first ever business forum" to promote enhanced trade relations. Fiji exports mainly sugar and textiles to Korea.[13]

Fiji also maintains diplomatic relations with North Korea. Fiji first recognised North Korea in 1975, then suspended relations in 1987 "as part of the collective action of the international community" against North Korea's terrorist bombing of Korean Air Flight 858. Relations resumed in 2002 within the scope of Fiji's "Look North" policy of greater engagement with Asia. In 2012, Fiji became the first Pacific Island country to open a consulate in North Korea.[14][15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fiji Independence Order 1970
  2. ^ "Political relations". ROK embassy in Fiji. "The Republic of Korea established the diplomatic relationship with the Republic of the Fiji islands on the 30th of January 1971, right after Fiji's independence, and confirming Korea's recognition of Fiji as a sovereign state on the 11th of October 1970." 
  3. ^ Address of the South Korean embassy in Suva
  4. ^ "Fiji to open embassy in South Korea". Korea Herald,. 11 December 2011. "Fiji is to open a new embassy in South Korea next year, sending an ambassador from Suva to Seoul. The new embassy is expected to open in the first half of 2012 to foster trade and investment between Korea and the archipelago about 2,000 km northeast of New Zealand." 
  5. ^ "Fiji opens embassy in Seoul", Korea Herald, 22 July 2012
  6. ^ a b "Fiji to establish diplomatic mission in Korea", FijiLive, September 11, 2007
  7. ^ "Chinese bank seeks place in Fiji". Radio New Zealand International. September 18, 2007. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Chaudhry breaks silence to slag New Zealand", NiuFM, July 9, 2007
  9. ^ "Fiji-Korea business forum". Fiji Times. October 22, 2011. "The first Fiji-Korea Business Forum and Catalog Exhibition will be held at Holiday Inn, Suva, on Thursday October 27. The forum and exhibition is co-organised by the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency, Korean Embassy in Fiji and Investment Fiji." 
  10. ^ a b "Political relations", ROK embassy in Fiji
  11. ^ "Fiji democracy rally targets China, India, SKorea support", Radio Australia, June 5, 2009
  12. ^ "Korea Fiji trade 'can improve'", Fiji Times, November 25, 2011
  13. ^ "Fiji to open embassy in South Korea". Korea Herald,. 11 December 2011. "Export items from the country include textiles and sugar, while agriculture and tourism form large parts of the economy." 
  14. ^ "Cabinet Approves Memorandum Of Understanding Between Fiji And The Democratic Republic Of Korea", The Jet, August 2012
  15. ^ "Fiji's the first", Fiji Times, 29 August 2012

External links[edit]