The National Flag - Taegeukgi

The National Flag - Taegeukgi


Following the trend for modern states to adopt national flags, the decision to create a national flag for Korea emerged with the ratification of the Korea-United States Treaty of 1882. No accurate records remain of the Korean flag chosen for use at the signing ceremony; however, some argue that the flag was si milar to the ensign flag featured in the Flags of Maritime Nations issued by the U.S. Navy Department’s Bureau of Navigation and found in 2004. In his capacity as Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary under King Gojong, Park Yeong-hyo kept a record of his diplomatic mission to Japan in 1882.

In his capacity as Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary under King Gojong, Park Yeong-hyo kept a record of his diplomatic mission to Japan in 1882. According to his journal, known as Sahwagiryak, in September of that year while aboard the ship to Japan, Park created a four-trigram flag with a taegeuk circle (instead of the flag with eight black bars that had been used prior to 1800). The flag was used from September 25, 1882, according to Park’s report to the government on October 3 of that year. By royal order on March 6, 1883, King Gojong promulgated that Park’s flag with a taegeuk circle in the center and four trigrams around it (the flag named Taegeukgi) be the national flag. However, due to a lack of specific guidelines, the flag design took different forms. On June 29, 1942, the Provisional Government issued a national flag style guide to ensure that subsequent flags would be created in a consistent manner. Despite these efforts, however, ordinary people were unaware of these guidelines.After the establishment of the Republic of Korea on August 15, 1948, the government felt an increasing need to standardize flag construction. Thus in January 1949, it formed the National Flag Correction Committee, which announced the National Flag Construction Guidelines on October 15 of that year. A number of regulations were later implemented, providing for the systematic management of the flag: the Act on the Flag of the Republic of Korea, enacted in January 2007; the Enforcement Decree of the Act on the Flag of the Republic of Korea, in July 2007; and the Regulations on the Hoisting, Management, and Promotion of the National Flag in September 2009 (by instructions from the Prime Minister).

Symbolism of the flag

The Taegeukgi consists of a white background, a red and blue taegeuk circle in the center, and four black trigrams (collectively called geongongamri), one in each corner of the flag. The white background represents brightness, purity, and peace, qualities that are highly valued by the people. The taegeuk, which has long been a commonly used motif, denotes the harmony between the negative cosmic forces (yin : blue portion) and the positive cosmic forces (yang : red portion), depicting the truth of nature that all things are created and evolve through the interaction of yin and yang. The four black trigrams are specific representations of the movement and harmony of these forces. In detail, the geon symbolizes the sky, the gon the earth, the gam water, and the ri fire. Together, they create harmony around the taegeuk mark. In short, the Taegeukgi flag embodies the vision of the Korean people who, like the universe, seek continuous creation and enrichment. By upholding the spirit and significance of the Taegeukgi, the people seek to realize unity and unification and contribute to the happiness and peace of humanity.

Construction of the Flag of Korea

Construction of the Flag of Korea

  1. ① Diameter of circle x 3
  2. ② Diameter of circle x 2
  3. ③ Diameter of circle x 1/2
  4. ④ Length of flag x 1/2
  5. ⑤ Right angle (90 degrees)
  6. ⑥ Diameter of Circle x 1/24
  7. ⑦ Diameter of circle x 1/4
  8. ⑧ Diameter of circle x 1/3
  9. ⑨ Diameter of circle x 1/12

Pledge of allegiance to the flag (revised on July 27, 2007)

I, standing before the noble Taegeukgi, solemnly pledge allegiance to the Republic of Korea, to its glory, liberty and justice.




Definition & Key conditions

International Development Cooperation and ODA

Official development assistance (ODA) is defined as government aid that is designed to promote the economic development and welfare of developing countries, and includes the provision of grants, loans and technical assistance to developing countries or international organizations. The international community has used this definition of ODA since the establishment of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 1961.
As a broader concept encompassing ODA, International Development Cooperation refers to international efforts and actions to reduce inequalities between developed and developing countries, between different developing countries and within developing countries, and to protect people’s fundamental rights by ending poverty. Since political, economic, social, cultural and historical factors drive poverty in developing countries, this is not an issue that involves developing countries alone, but a global one requiring long-term, coordinated international efforts.
In the past, promoting economic growth was viewed as a main solution to the problem of poverty. However, the international community has come around to a view that multidimensional efforts to promote not only economic development but also social development as a whole are required to put an end to poverty. In line with this trend, the approaches to development have been diversified to include efforts to achieve ▲the development of economic and social infrastructures, ▲political stabilization, ▲capacity building and ▲sustainable development.
In addition, in the development cooperation landscape of recent years, the importance of new sources of development financing has continued to grow. In the past, terms such as development assistance, foreign aid and overseas aid were used to indicate development cooperation. Today, however, in reflection of the increasing focus on ‘collaboration’ with developing countries through inclusive partnerships, ‘international development cooperation’ has become the most commonly used term.

picture of oda
Key Conditions of ODA

The OECD DAC defines ODA as flows of resources to developing countries that are provided by official agencies, including central and local governments or their executive agencies; are administered with promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries as their main objective (meaning that aid for military and commercial purposes is excluded); are provided to countries on the DAC list of ODA recipients and to multilateral institutions as defined by the OECD DAC as qualified international organizations; and are concessional in nature and fulfill grant element thresholds*.

  • * Least Developed/Low Income Countries : Over 45%
  • Lower Middle Income Countries : Over 15%
  • Upper Middle Income Countries : Over 10%

Types of ODA

Depending upon the delivery channel, ODA is categorized into bilateral and multilateral ODA. There are two types of bilateral ODA – grants and concessional loans. Grants refer to transfers made in cash, goods or services to developing countries for which no repayments are required. On the other hand, loans involve transfers made in cash or goods provided to developing countries on concessional terms and on more favorable conditions than private sector funds, and for which repayments are required.
Multilateral ODA is classified broadly into contributions and capital subscriptions. Contributions are provisions of funds to international organizations such as UN agencies to participate in global efforts to address economic, social, environmental, and cross-cutting issues, including poverty and women’s development. Capital subscriptions refer to provisions of capital to Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) such as the Asian Development Bank, to thus assist developing countries indirectly.
ODA can also be tied or untied aid. Tied aid is ODA for which the associated goods and services must be procured in the donor country or a restricted group of other countries. In cases of untied aid, however, the ODA goods and services may be fully and freely procured in substantially all countries.

Types of Aid
Types of AidTable for Types of Aid
Type Type of finance Type of aid
Bilateral aid Grants: Transfers in cash or in kind for which no legal debt is incurred by the recipient
  • Budget support
  • Core contributions and pooled programs and funds
  • Project-type interventions
  • Experts and other technical assistance
  • Scholarships and student costs in donor countries
  • Debt relief
  • Administrative costs not included elsewhere
  • Other in-donor expenditures
Loans (Non-grant): Transfers in cash or in kind for which the recipient incurs legal debt
Multilateral aid Contributions and capital subscriptions to international organization and concessional loans to international organization

This White Paper uses “aid” and “cooperation” interchangeably in some contexts.