Korea-Canada relations date back to 1888 when Canadian missionary James Scarth Gale of Toronto created the first Korean-English dictionary, the first Korean translation of the Christian Bible, and wrote the first substantial English-language history of Korea.
Canada and Korea established formal diplomatic relations in 1963 and, 10 years later, Canada opened its Embassy in South Korea.
An average of 5,250 South Koreans immigrated to Canada annually between 2006 and 2016, contributing to a community of approximately 170,000 Canadians identifying themselves as being of Korean origin. Over 26,000 Canadians currently reside in South Korea, including about 3,200 language teachers.
South Korea is Canada’s fastest growing source of tourism. In 2015, over 177,000 Korean tourists visited Canada spending almost $252 million.
Canada and South Korea share similar views on many multilateral and global issues, including strengthening the multilateral trading system, UN reform and human rights, among others. They share membership in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the World Trade Organization (WTO), amongst others.
In 2014, Canada and South Korea signed the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) which called for stronger relations in key areas of common interest as energy and natural resources; science, technology and innovation; and Arctic research and development. Two years later, in 2016, the Canada-Korea Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Agreement was signed.
For more information on Canada-South Korea relations, refer to Global Affairs Canada’s website here.