Since the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations in 1973: "Finland Has Given Its Full Support to ROK in Its Efforts To Maintain Peace and Stability On the Korean Peninsula"
The diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Finland were established in 1973. Since 1985, Finland has had a full diplomatic representation in Seoul. The relationship between the two countries has traditionally been excellent. In terms of political relations, the two countries have not experienced any difficulties and vice versa, and we have supported each other in many international fora and international organizations. Finland has given its full support to South Korea in its efforts to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Recently, South Korea and Finland held bilateral political consultations that we had tried to conduct on an annual basis in Seoul. They again demonstrate the close relationship between the two countries despite geographical distance. From Helsinki, the Finnish delegation arrived and talks were held for one day. It was noted by both parties that the relationship is very good. The Finnish delegation expressed its gratitude for briefings of the Korean counterparts on issues such as Six-Party Talks and the APEC Summit. Regarding the economic and trade relations between South Korea and Finland, one can note that they have not developed in recent years as fast as one would have expected and hoped. One reason might have been the Asian financial crisis in 1997~1998 and other challenges South-Korea faced in its aftermath. Despite this, South Korea is the third largest trading partner of Finland in Asia and trade relations have developed intensively after 2004. In 2004, exports from Finland were 306 million euros and imports from South Korea were 424 million euros. In 2005 (January~June), exports were 238 million euros and imports 290 million euros. The most important Finnish export products to South Korea are machinery, paper-pulp industry products, chemicals, scrap metal, and steel products. South Korean exports to Finland include machinery, and particularly the share of electronic equipment such as computers and household electronics and cars have risen sharply. There are over 20 Finnish companies operating in South Korea. In addition to that there are around 100 companies with different kinds of representational arrangements in the Korean market. For example, the Nokia Corporation has a significant production plant in South Korea.
The accumulated Finnish direct investments in South Korea according to the Central Bank of Finland are approximately 500 million euros. Finnish Nokia Corporation and Korean Samsung are competitors on the global handset market but they also cooperate in certain areas. Samsung is a major supplier of chips for Nokia and both companies cooperate on issues related to the standards used by the telephone operators. Finnish and Korean authorities work closely together organizing expert meetings on the role of the public sector in promoting and facilitating the launching of new technologies and issues related to the regulatory framework. The Finnish Academy of Science has cooperated with KAST (Korean Academy of Science and Technology) and KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) on various areas of technology . TIEKE (Finnish Information Society Development Center) has cooperation with KIEC (Korea Institute for Electronic Commerce) arranging seminars and symposia together. Within the framework of ASEM Finland and South Korea co-sponsored a series of seminars on e-commerce. The cultural exchange between the two countries has traditionally been lively. Particularly, Finnish classical music is popular here and many Korean students study classical music at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. The Kuhmo Chamber Orchestra performed last June at Seoul Arts Center and the famous jazz group Trio Toykeat participated in the Jarasum Jazz festival. The Seoul International Dance Festival had invited world famous Finnish modern dancer Tero Saarinen to perform. The most visible Korean cultural event in Finland was the exhibition Paper and Meaning in which artists from Nordic countries and South Korea exhibited their work made of Korean traditional paper. Also important artifacts from the Jeonju Museum of Traditional Korean Paper were on display at this exhibition. Over 20 South Korean universities have bilateral agreements with Finnish universities. The areas of cooperation varies from color research to impedancetomography and from nursing science to business economics and international trade. The most important cooperation program in the area of education, called KEMBA, is the joint MBA-program between Helsinki School of Economics and the Institute for Industrial Policy Studies (IPS) here in South Korea. The program started in 1995 and 1,400 Koreans have graduated since then. The approximately 12 month program includes a section of studies in Finland. What then would interest the Koreans in Finland as a tourist destination? There are several tourist destinations in Finland but much depends on the time of the year. For example, in the winter, certain tourist attractions are closed and you can visit them only in summer and vice versa. Lappland is naturally a tourist destination both in winter and summer. It has very unique nature with its ancient forests, lakes and fields. In the summer, tourists can hike and fish and just enjoy nature and the landscape. In the winter, people ski, both cross-country and downhill, ride with reindeers and snowmobiles and visit the Santa Claus Village near the city of Rovaniemi where he along with his elves prepares the gifts for the next year. The tourist service and facilities in Lappland are first class.