The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was inaugurated according to the Government Organization Act enacted by the Government of the Republic of Korea on July 17, 1948, to be in charge of diplomacy, external economic policy, overseas Korean nationals, international situation analysis and overseas promotional affairs.
After the Government of the Republic of Korea was founded on August 15, 1948, diplomatic relations were forged and overseas missions were established beginning with embassies or legations in friendly countries such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom and France along with representative missions in Japan and the United Nations.
On June 24, 1963, the Educational Institute of Foreign Service Officers (EIFSO) was established under Cabinet Order No. 1358 to be directly responsible to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. On January 5, 1965, EIFSO was reorganized as the Research Institute of Foreign Affairs (RIFA) under Presidential Decree No. 2030 as an educational institute for the improvement of the quality and efficiency of foreign service officers. On December 31, 1976, RIFA was reorganized as the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFANS) under Presidential Decree No. 8377.
As a part of the government organizational reforms in 1998, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was reorganized as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade with the incorporation of the newly established Office of the Minister for Trade, so as to comprehensively establish and conduct foreign policies on trade, trade negotiations and foreign economic affairs according to Presidential Decree No. 15710 of February 28 and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Decree No. 1 of March 3.
In 2013, the Ministry was reorganized again as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs following the Park Geun-hye government’s reorganization plan.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs establishes and carries out foreign policies, economic diplomacy and economic cooperation, takes part in international economic communities, administers treaties and international agreements, protects and supports overseas Korean nationals, promotes cultural cooperation, and analyzes international affairs.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has continuously introduced complementary measures for effective diplomacy such as readjustment of manpower and budget befitting the changes in the diplomatic environment and the pursuit of substantial diplomacy to maximize the national interest of the ROK in the midst of a highly competitive international environment.