Foreign Policy Watch: India-South Korea

Foreign Policy Watch: India-South Korea

Deepening ties with South Korea

South Korea’s technological advancement and manufacturing capabilities can be helpful in India’s economic growth and human resource development. Seoul’s successful development story of the last few decades can complement Modi’s vision of making a “New India” by 2022.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-South Korea

Why did North Korea blow up a joint liaison office with Seoul?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : DMZ, Armstice Agreement

Mains level : Read the attached story

North Korea blew up the joint liaison office with South Korea in Kaesong, an industrial township on its side of the border, becoming one of the most serious incidents to have occurred between the two countries, without them actually going to war.

Must read:

What is the Korean Armistice Agreement?

Practice question for mains:

Q. What is the Korean Armstice Agreement? Discuss the concept of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)?

What is this liaison office?

  • In 2003, North Korea and South Korea jointly set up a liaison office at Kaesong in North Korea.
  • It was set up in 2018 to facilitate communication between North Korea and South Korea.
  • The Kaesong Industrial Complex is a joint industrial zone where factories are operated and run by both North Koreans and South Koreans.
  • At its height, approximately 120 factories were operating in this industrial zone with more than 50,000 North Korean employees and several hundred managers.

Why did Pyongyang demolish it?

  • Since the past week, tensions between the two countries had increased after Pyongyang objected to activists and defectors in South Korea sending anti-North Korean propaganda leaflets, rice and Bibles using balloons.
  • Experts believe that these moves come after North Korea’s frustrations at South Korea’s inability to revive inter-Korean economic projects under pressure from the US, along with UN sanctions.

What’s next?

  • The demolition occurred just days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong had threatened to destroy the liaison office.
  • Following the demolition, North Korean said that it would be deploying troops in demilitarized areas, including in the Kaesong industrial zone.

Are they heading towards war?

  • Observers say that these actions by North Korea have been the most provocative in recent years.
  • Experts believe these provocations may have occurred because Pyongyang is hoping to pressure Seoul into giving it more concessions that would be economically beneficial for North Korea that has been hit hard by sanctions.
  • Experts believe these actions, however provocative, are not severe enough for Seoul to contemplate military aggression in retaliation.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-South Korea

What is the Korean Armistice Agreement?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Korean Armstice Agreement

Mains level : Korean Armstice Agreement

A United Nations investigation into a recent exchange of gunfire between North Korea and South Korea inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) has determined that both countries violated the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

Practice question for mains:

Q. What is the Korean Armstice Agreement? Discuss the concept of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)?

The Korean Armstice Agreement

  • The Korean Armstice Agreement signed on 27 July 1953 is the armistice that brought about a complete cessation of hostilities of the Korean War.
  • It was not the end of a war, but only a cessation of hostilities in an attempt to negotiate a lasting peace.
  • Military commanders from China and North Korea signed the agreement on one side, with the US-led United Nations Command signing on behalf of the international community.

What is the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)?

  • The DMZ marks where the 1950-53 Korean War — when China and North Korea battled UN forces led by the United States — ended with an armistice, not a treaty.
  • It is a 2 km-wide buffer, stretching coast to coast across the peninsula, lined by both sides with razor wire, heavy armaments and tank traps.
  • It is 60 km from Seoul and 210 km from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. Inside the DMZ is a Joint Security Area (JSA).
  • The so-called ‘peace village’ of Panmunjom, where the armistice that halted the Korean War was signed in 1953, is located in the 800-metre-wide and 400-metre-long JSA zone.
  • A Military Demarcation Line (MDL) marks the boundary between the two Koreas.

Why it is significant?

  • Vast stretches of the DMZ have been no man’s land for more than 60 years, where wildlife has flourished undisturbed.
  • Last year, US President Donald Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Panmunjom.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-South Korea

India, South Korea agree on framework to improve trade

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)

Mains level: Issues related to the Korean peninsula and India’s stand on it


CEPA signed

  1. India and South Korea signed a joint statement agreeing to discuss an ‘early harvest’ package for the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) aimed at identifying key areas for enhanced trade between the two countries
  2. The CEPA came into existence in 2010
  3. The two countries also agreed to try to increase their bilateral trade to $50 billion by 2030, up from current levels of $20 billion

Back2Basics

Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement

  1. The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) is a free trade agreement between India and South Korea
  2. The agreement was signed on August 7, 2009
  3. The agreement was aimed at easing restrictions on foreign direct investments and provide better access for the Indian service industry in South Korea

Foreign Policy Watch: India-South Korea

India, South Korea to review free trade pact tomorrow- I

  1. Aim: To further boost bilateral trade and investment ties
  2. Review: Assessments of the benefits derived from both the countries under the existing CEPA like fresh negotiations on elimination/ reduction of duties on various products
  3. CEPA: Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement
  4. This CEPA had come into effect in 2010
  1. Aim: To further boost bilateral trade and investment ties
  2. Review: Assessments of the benefits derived from both the countries under the existing CEPA like fresh negotiations on elimination/ reduction of duties on various products
  3. CEPA: Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement
  4. This CEPA had come into effect in 2010
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