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Although far apart in geographical terms, the known contacts between Portugal and Korea date from the beginning of the XVII century.

In 1604, a Portuguese merchant, João Mendes, traveled to East Asia via Macao to engage in trading and, after having been taken captive along with other crew in a sea battle with a Japanese foreign trade mission boat, landed in Tongyang, on the Southeastern coast of Korea.

But before that – throughout the XVI century - both Portuguese cartography and texts written by Portuguese Jesuit fathers provide a significant number of references to Korea. Luís de Fróis, in his History of Japan (which includes ten chapters on Korea), Tomé Pires, in his Summa Oriental, Fernão Mendes Pinto, celebrated author of The Peregrination, Fernão Vaz Dourado, Gaspar Vilela, or father Manuel Teixeira, are some of the authors and cartographers where numerous references to Korea can be found.

On the basis of toponyms related to Korea found in texts written and charts drawn by Portuguese travelers and cartographers, Korean historians have attributed to the Portuguese the introduction of Korea to the Western world. 

Thus, Portugal and Korea can trace their relations back to the era when Portugal played a pioneering role in opening the sea routes between Europe and Asia, between East and West, setting out the first wave of globalization and fostering multiform contacts and exchanges between different civilizations that became the hallmark of the modern world. 

Today, the relations between Portugal and Korea stand on solid grounds, built upon an extensive network of bilateral agreements and political visits at high level, as well as on a growing exchange of people to people contacts. With Asia taking centerpiece place in the world economy and Korea playing a leading role in Asia, trade and relations between both countries are expected to develop further.
Visits

From Portugal to the ROK

  • 1984. JunePrime Minister Mário Soares
  • 1993. OctoberPresident Mário Soares
  • 2000. OctoberPrime Minister Antonio Guterres
  • 2010. AprilMinister of Foreign Affairs Luís Amado
  • 2010. OctoberVice Minister of Trade Fernando Serrasqueiro
  • 2011. FebruaryMinister of Finance Fernando Teixeira dos Santos
  • 2012. SeptemberMinister of Agriculture, Sea, Environment and Spatial Planning, Assunção Cristas
  • 2014. AprilMinister of State and Foreign Affairs, Rui Machete
  • 2014. JulyMinister of Agriculture and Sea, Assunção Cristas
  • 2014. JulyPresident Aníbal Cavaco Silva

From the ROK to Portugal

  • 1987. JanuaryPrime Minister Roh Shin-young
  • 1999. JunePrime Minister Kim Jong-pil
  • 2006. JunePrime Minister Han Myeong-sook
  • 2007. JuneVice Minister Jo Joong-pyo
  • 2009. AprilMinister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Yoo In-chon
  • 2009. JulyMinister of Foreign Affairs Yu Myung-hwan
  • 2009. JulyVice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade 1 Kwon Jong-rak
  • 2009. NovemberPresidential Envoy Han Seung-soo
  • 2010. JulySpeaker of the National Assembly Park Hee-tae
  • 2011. AprilSpecial Envoy of President Park Geun-hye