Chile was the first South American country to recognize the Republic of Korea, establishing diplomatic relations on April 18, 1962. Chile opened its embassy in Seoul in 1974.
In the 1990s, Chile and Korea began a new phase in their relations, based on shared values such as democracy, respect for human rights, the promotion of international peace and security and market openness.
Chile and Korea maintain a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), in force since 2004. This FTA is the first agreement of this nature signed between an Asian country and a Latin American country. It regulates Preferential Market Access and related matters, as well as chapters on investment, cross-border services, temporary entry of people with the purpose of doing business, intellectual property and transparency, among others.
Likewise, it creates a Free Trade Commission as the highest body of the administration of the agreement, which is supported by a Goods Committee, a Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, a Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade and a Services and Investment Committee, among others.
The agreement established a set of tariff reduction categories, with periods ranging from immediate tariff elimination upon entry into force of the FTA, to a maximum term of 16 years.
During the 2016 APEC Leaders' Summit, a joint declaration was signed between Chile and Korea, which expressed the willingness of both countries to start negotiations to update the FTA. To date, three rounds of negotiations have taken place on November of 2018, July and October 2019. These rounds facilitated meetings and discussions of the established working groups on: Market Access, Trade Facilitation, Anti-Corruption, Intellectual Property, Labour, Environment, Gender and Cooperation.
In addition, Korea has expressed its interest in starting negotiations with the Pacific Alliance as an "Associate State". Chile supports, individually, the entrance of the Republic of Korea to the Alliance.
High Level Meetings: In September 2018, President Sebastián Piñera and President Moon Jae-in met for the first time in New York during the 73rd United Nations General Assembly. The two leaders agreed on four priority areas in the bilateral relationship: e-government, cyber-security, the 4.0 industrial revolution, and cooperation on climate change and global warming.
The current bilateral agenda contemplates, besides the economic-commercial matters, cooperation in infrastructure, energy, science and technology, culture, e-government, health, defense, Antarctica and astronomy, among others.
On April 28-29 of 2019, President Piñera paid a state visit to Korea, the first one carried out by a Latin American leader since the inauguration of the government of President Moon Jae-in in May 2017. Both authorities presided over the signing of the following agreements and memoranda of understanding:
a) Bilateral Agreement on Cooperation in Defense
b) MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Information and Communication Technologies
c) MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Transport
d) MoU on Cooperation in the Field of e-Government
Korean Peninsula: Chile supports the Republic of Korea in its efforts to promote dialogue and achieve peace and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, both at the multilateral level, through the United Nations Security Council, and at the bilateral level, with the signing of a Cooperation Agreement for the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (2002).