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Cronologia

History of the Delegation for relations with the Korean Peninsula (DKOR)

The Delegation for relations with the Korean Peninsula is a relatively young delegation for the European Parliament: it was created in 2004, at the beginning of the Parliament's sixth legislative term (2004-2009).

Before 2004, the Parliament's efforts to engage with South Korea were the work of the Delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia, ASEAN and the Republic of Korea. North Korean affairs were mainly addressed in the Foreign Affairs Committee, which sometimes sent ad hoc delegations to meet with representatives from the country.

The desire to create a dedicated committee in 2004 dovetailed with the European Parliament's increasing attention to political affairs on the Korean Peninsula - including inter-Korean politics - and to its effort to engage with the DPRK.

Relations with the North

In its early years, the delegation's efforts to keep the channels of communication with North Korea open led to a number of meetings with DPRK officials. The delegation travelled to Pyongyang in 2005, in 2007 (twice), 2008 and 2011. Representatives of the DPRK travelled to Brussels in 2006 in 2007.

This delegation's willingness to constructively - and critically - engage with the DPRK was gradually eroded by developments in the country, particularly the human rights situation and, more recently, the country's nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

The Parliament as a whole has voted a number of resolutions calling on the DPRK to reform, and on the international community to react. As the delegation's visits grew more seldom, the Parliament's resolutions grew more frequent, issued in 2006, then 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016.

The most recent resolution, voted in early January 2016, responded to the country's fourth nuclear test. The text not only "strongly condemns the nuclear test as an unnecessary and dangerous provocation", but also "urges the DRPK to refrain from further provocative actions by abandoning its nuclear and ballistic missiles programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner".

In spite of these problems and in line with requests from counterparts in the region, the European Parliament has kept its channels of communication with North Korea open.

Relations with the South

In contrast to the delegation's - and the EU's - increasingly thorny relations with the North, the relationship with Seoul has blossomed since the delegation was established.

A shift in the country's view of trade - from a more protectionist stance to one that emphasised exports and free trade - brought the two sides closer together. An EU-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2009 and entered into effect in 2011.

The Agreement marked a milestone for the EU: it was the first of a new and comprehensive generation of free trade agreements, as well as the first to require the European Parliament's approval following the new provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon.

In 2010, the EU-Republic of Korea relationship was also formally upgraded to a "strategic partnership".

The delegation has followed this evolution closely in its regular meetings in Brussels and Strasbourg, as well as in its inter-parliamentary meetings with elected representatives from the National Assembly. Between 2006 and 2011, the delegation travelled at least once a year to Seoul. The pace of visits has slacked off since then, with the last visit taking place in 2015.

Aims

Following the impeachment of President Park and the election of MOON Jae-in as President of the Republic of Korea, in early 2017, the DKOR delegation is intensifying its contacts with the National Assembly in Seoul.

At the same time, the delegation will continue to work towards a de-escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula, not least by using its channel of communication with the North.