Korea's 'Resource Diplomacy' Largely Flopped

      September 30, 2014 12:34

      The government invested W430 billion over the past 10 years on presidential trips abroad to forge energy-related pacts with other countries, but the agreements have produced scant results (US$1=W1,055).

      According to data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the government signed 79 memoranda of understanding with other countries during presidential trips since 2003 to develop oil and gas abroad, but more than two-thirds of the MOUs yielded no results.

      State-run Korea National Oil Corporation invested W430 billion in seven deals with Azerbaijan, the Philippines, Russia and Uzbekistan and to drill for oil and gas, but ended up pulling out after they found little or nothing.

      Only 18 of the 79 MOUs resulted in the acquisition of natural resources abroad. Out of 26 MOUs signed during President Roh Moo-hyun's overseas visits, only 10 yielded tangible results, and out of 49 forged by president Lee Myung-bak a mere eight.

      The Park Geun-hye administration has so far signed four energy-related MOUs but none of them have yielded any concrete results. The search for overseas deposits of rare-earth elements yielded no results.

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