Rod Rothwell, Co-Chair if KBLA and Alex Jensen discuss the stress that the current Russian invasion of Ukraine has put on one of Korea’s oldest relationships. The first Russian Korean agreement dates back to the 1880’s. During the colonial period, and the Soviet period relations obviously were much weaker, but since the birth of the Russian Federation trade has grown, till it peaked at around 30 billion in bilateral trade in 2011.
Part of this has been significant investments in Russia by Korean firms including manufacturing plants, energy assets and tourism developments.
Korea also imports more than $15 billion dollars’ worth of energy products from Russia. Coal, oil, gas and naphtha being the main fuels. This fuel is not ready to be replaced by either other sources or renewables, so there is a real security risk there.
Apart from that there has been a history of people exchanges with estimates of up to 500,000 people of Korean origin living in Russia.
How this relationship will cope with the stress of the current situation remains to be seen.
Today’s episode is made possible by the support of the Innovation Center Denmark Korea.