The relationship to Denmark can be a major factor in fighting climate change

There may be more than 8000 kilometers between the Korean peninsula and the Danish one, but the relationship is alive and well, and ambassadors from the two countries believe it can be a major factor in the fight against climate change.

Choi Jae-Cheoul, the South Korean ambassador in Denmark, argues that the relationship between Denmark and South Korea must facilitate cooperation in a more diverse field of industries. Photo: Jaeyoung Hong


By Jaeyoung Hong and Rasmus Schaal Linneberg

26th, February, 2019

January 30 marked the initiation of 2019 as the Year of Culture, in which Denmark and South Korea will come together and celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations. The opening ceremony was held in Aarhus, which is the second biggest city in Denmark, at the art museum Kunsthal Aarhus with an exhibition by Korean artist Kim Beom.

According to the South Korean ambassador in Denmark, Choi Jae-Cheol, the two countries have a lot to learn from each other.

“Korea mainly depends on nuclear power and fossils to create electricity, where Denmark really excels at wind power. Denmark can be a role model as a leading country in producing renewable energy,” he said.


The relationship between the two countries first started to flourish in the 1950s. Korea was war-ridden and the South Korean front had been pushed south. Denmark aided the South Korean army with the hospital ship MS Jutlandia which would play a vital role first in the Busan area and later in the Incheon area as the communist regime was pushed further north.

With the war ending, South Korea under the leadership of President Park Chung-hee grew into a modern state with a stable economy. The country would be a leading manufacturer of ships. Something a certain Danish container shipping company would start to make use of in the early 1980s.

“Denmark is a leading manufacturer of parts for ship construction. Korea is a leading manufacturer of ships, especially for Maersk, which is the biggest container shipping company in the world,” Choi said, when speaking of the commercial relationship between the two countries.


That is not to say however that the relationship cannot be improved upon. While there are very strong industrial links between the Korea and Denmark, there is plenty of room for the relationship to be ‘diversified’, as Choi puts it.

“We need to facilitate the industrial links in more than just the current industries and focus on the emerging ones as well. Industries like the drone-industry, bio-pharmacy and the fourth industrial revolution,” he said.

Culturally speaking perhaps the Year of Culture is partly owed to the diversifying of the relationship between the two countries. But it is not only just now that the plan to diversify that relationship is coming into execution. In 2011 the countries entered into the Green Growth Alliance partnership. The goal of the partnership was to facilitate green growth.


“Korean and Danish research institutions are some of the world’s leading incubators for innovation in green technology and renewable energy. The Green Growth Alliance will seek to expand contacts and cooperation between research communities in Korea and Denmark,” Lars Løkke Rasmussen, prime minister of Denmark, said at the launch of the Green Growth Alliance.

The partnership was renewed in 2018, when the countries again vowed to stand together in the fight against climate change through the partnership Partners for Green Growth and Global Goals.

#Korea and #Denmark in active partnership to make the important transition to #lowcarboneconomy replacing coal power plants with #RenewableEnergy. Also tackling #AirPollution. Business case and potential very strong. 🇰🇷🇩🇰#P4G@MOTIEKoreaEng@MOFAkr_eng@Energistyr

— Thomas Lehmann (@DKAMBinKorea) 19. februar 2019

“The friendship between Denmark and South Korea has thus been built throughout the years to the avail of both countries, and it’s no coincidence: Our two countries are similar in more than a few ways, which in many ways provide a common starting point,” said Thomas Lehmann who is the Danish ambassador in South Korea in an opinion piece for Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which was co-signed by the South Korean ambassador, Choi Jae-Cheol.