Korea promoted to developed nation by Unctad
It is the first time the UN body upgraded a country’s classification from developing to developed since its establishment in 1964.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Sunday that Unctad, a UN body set up to support developing countries access the benefits of a globalized economy, decided to classify Korea as a developed nation during its 68th board meeting at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva. It was a unanimous decision.
The UN agency classifies member countries into four groups. The Foreign Affairs Ministry said that Korea has been moved from Group A, which consists of Asian and African member countries, to Group B, which consists mostly of European countries as well as developed nations from different continents such as the United States, Japan and Australia.
Including Korea, 32 member countries are in Group B. Unctad has 195 member countries.
Lee Tae-ho, the permanent representative of Korea to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, said Korea hopes to more actively play the role of bridge builder between different groups within Unctad as a major donor country.
On June 22, Lee said Korea was the sixth largest Aid-for-Trade donor among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and that with other OECD donors, Korea is seeking to institutionalize its contributions at the Unctad, hinting the country was seeking to change its status to a developed country.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement that the Korean government will expand its mediation between developing and developed countries.
Korea has been considered a unique example in history of becoming a donor country after being a recipient of UN aid.
At the end of 1996, Korea became the 29th member of the OECD. This was considered a major recognition of Korea as a developed country, though soon after the country suffered from the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
In 2009, Korea became a member of the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD, which is an international forum of the largest providers of aid, with 30 members.
In 2019, Korea officially gave up “developing country” benefits at the World Trade Organization. This removed Korea from a list of countries that claim developing country status at the organization. Korea had held that status since joining the trade body in 1995.
According to data from the World Bank, Korea's real gross domestic product grew by on average 7.3 percent annually between 1960 and 2019 and Korea's gross national income increased from $67 in the early 1950s to over $30,000 in 2018.
BY KIM JEE-HEE [email@example.com]