The United Kingdom in briefThe United Kingdom in brief
Major cities: Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield
Official language: English
Population: 64 million
Religion: Mostly Christian
Area: 93,628 square miles
Number of Korean expats: 46,263 (2014)
Over a century of ties
The United Kingdom and Korea have enjoyed over 132 years of diplomatic relations since April 1884. On Nov. 26, 1883, at the Gyeongbok Palace in central Seoul, representatives of Korea (then the Joseon Dynasty) and the United Kingdom signed the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation.
Korea was ranked the second-largest destination for U.K. goods exports among Asian and Oceania countries in the first half of 2015, excluding the trans-shipment hub of Hong Kong. The U.K.’s total goods exports to Korea increased 14 percent to $3.6 billion in the first half of 2015 from $3.2 billion during the same period last year. Non-oil exports increased 6 percent to $2.4 billion. Oil exports increased 36 percent to $1.2 billion, accounting for 34 percent of the U.K.’s total goods exports to Korea in the first half of 2015.
Since 1980, 325 Korean companies have set up businesses in the United Kingdom. There are currently 14 Korean companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. According to 2014 statistics from the Export-Import Bank of Korea, investment in the United Kingdom from Korea was over $1 billion, second in the EU behind Luxembourg. In the first half of 2015, Korean investment in the United Kingdom stood at $511 million, the highest amount to an EU member state.
Pascale Sutherland is half-French and half-Scottish, and as such, her thoughts are with her friends and family who have been affected by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. Sutherland studied interpretation there and met her husband in France in 1999. Since then, they have lived in Brussels, London and Madrid. Along came their two children who love and enjoy all that Seoul has to offer, including singing, art pottery, taekwondo and gimbap (rice rolls). Thanks to the International Association of Conference Interpreters, Sutherland’s affiliation, she has met many wonderful Korean colleagues, some of whom teach at Ewha Womans University in Seoul. She has thoroughly enjoyed meeting and talking with young budding interpreters there.
British Ambassador to Korea
Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, Charles Hay moved to London when he was young and lived for two years in Laos. He studied philosophy and politics, then spent five years as an officer in a Scottish regiment in the army before joining the British diplomatic service in 1993. He has held posts in Prague, Brussels and Madrid. His most recent job in London was running the consular network and overseas crisis management. Hay says he feels very excited to be in Seoul, his top choice for his first ambassadorial appointment.