[KS] ROK-Israel

Alon Levkowitz levko at smile.net.il
Fri Mar 29 10:41:46 EDT 2013

Dear Kim and Balazs.

Thank you all for an interesting data. While Israel opened its diplomatic
office in Korea in 1962 after signing the diplomatic relations accord, Korea
opened its diplomatic in Israel only three decades later.

One could understand Korea's sensitivity towards the reaction of the Middle
East market especially in the 1970s-80s. That is why Seoul was not
enthusiastic to allow Israel to reopen the embassy after 1978. Short time
after closing the embassy Israel understood that the decision to close the
embassy was a mistake, but it had to wait more than a decade until Seoul was
sure that reopening the embassy will not affect its trade with the Arab

All the best



Dr. Alon Levkowitz

Tel: 972-3-6133045

Fax: 972-722357446


Email: levko at smile.net.il

emblem 50 years - Korea[1]


From: Koreanstudies [mailto:koreanstudies-bounces at koreaweb.ws] On Behalf Of
Balazs Szalontai
Sent: Friday, March 29, 2013 11:29 AM
To: Korean Studies Discussion List
Subject: Re: [KS] ROK-Israel


Dear Jiyul,

thanks a lot for this valuable information! I may add that Park Chung Hee's
"The Country, the Revolution, and I" adopted a sort of non-committal
attitude toward the Arab-Israeli dispute in the sense that he did express
admiration of Israel's well-organized efforts to create a developed country
in the middle of the desert, but at the same time he listed Egyptian
President Nasser as one of his role models (Kemal Ataturk of Turkey and Ayub
Khan of Pakistan being two others). This was quite in accordance with his
diplomacy in the early and mid-1960s, for as early as this period, he sought
to establish contacts with as many Third World states as possible. In 1961,
both South and North Korea asked Egypt for the establishment of
ambassadorial relations, but at that stage, the Egyptians felt it sufficient
to establish only consulates-general. 

Alon Levkowitz wrote that the Israeli embassy in Seoul was closed in 1978
(see Levkowitz, "The Republic of Korea and the Middle East: Economics,
Diplomacy, and Security," KEI Academic Papers Series 5:6, August 2010).

All the best,

Balazs Szalontai

Kwangwoon University, Dept of International Studies


From: Jiyul Kim <jiyulkim at gmail.com>
To: Korean Studies Discussion List <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws> 
Sent: Friday, 29 March 2013, 11:23
Subject: [KS] ROK-Israel


On additional related comment to follow up on my last - the MOFAT archive
also contains the rather sordid record of ROK-Israeli relations. I can't go
into detail as it's been a while since I saw the documents but essentially
ROK dragged its heels in establishing a proper diplomatic mission physically
located in Israel for so long after Israel set up its embassy that Israel
threatened to close it embassy. It finally did in 1972 (the last record in
my research time period) and reopened only in 1992. 

The records make it clear that the situation was a mathematical: there were
many Arab countries whose UN vote were sought while Israel only had one.
This despite the fact that Israel was the first nation to offer assistance
when the Korean War started, helped in starting the ROK defense industry in
the late 60s,its fortified kibbutz system served as a model for strategic
villages set up in Kangwondo in the late 60s-early 70s, and served as an
inspirational national model for Park Chung Hee - a small country surrounded
by big enemies but survived, became strong and rich and determined its own
fate. The exact result Park wanted for SK as he often invoked in his
speeches. The oil situation in the 1970s with the heavy industry program
Park began probably exacerbated the divide since SK needed Middle Eastern


On 3/28/2013 3:45 PM, Yoo Kwang-On wrote:

New Documents on the Two Koreas and the Third World


The North Korea International Documentation Project has recently obtained
and translated more than sixty documents from Romanian and Hungarian
archives on the struggle between North Korea and South Korea to gain
diplomatic recognition from countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East,
and Latin America. The documents are being made available to students,
researchers, and interested readers through a collection entitled
> The Two Koreas and the Third World on the Wilson Center Digital Archive as
part of a broader project on the history of inter-Korean relations supported
by the ROK Ministry of Unification.


The inter-Korean struggle took on global dimensions in the late 1970s and
early 1980s following the failure of the inter-Korean dialogue (see the
collections on the
2> Inter-Korean Dialogue, 1971-1972 and the
3-1975> Demise of Detente in Korea, 1973-1975 for further information). Both
Koreas sought allies and supporters across the globe and particularly among
countries active in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). In exchange for
diplomatic recognition, North Korea and South Korea often provided economic
aid, technical assistance, and military support to countries in Africa,
Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.


To explore the documents, click here to be redirected to the collection
> The Two Koreas and the Third World on the Wilson Center Digital Archive.


The translation of these documents and others has been generously supported
by the ROK Ministry of Unification.


For more information, please see:  <http://bit.ly/WZg849>



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