From the Han to the Dnipro: South Korea’s “Smart Tech” in Post-War Ukraine

By | August 08, 2022 | No Comments

Premature as it may be to talk about the postwar reconstruction of Ukraine while the country’s armed forces continue to fight off Russian invaders, South Korean civil society has come together ready to provide the expertise and technology needed to assist a country with which a number of prominent Korean foreign policy analysts see a reflection of their own country’s situation. Indeed, precisely because the war continues to rage, South Korean firms and non-government agencies are not only planning ahead with how they can help Ukraine once the fighting subsides, but are stepping up to assist those in need at the moment in whatever ways they can. 


Ukraine’s Reconstruction to Incorporate South Korean Smart Tech[1]


“On the evening of July 29 at the museum seminar room at Gyeongnam National University in the Gajwa District of Jinju, Gyeongnam Province, agencies and NGOs from South Korea, Ukraine, the US and other countries inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU); henceforth, the international community will jointly seek reconstruction projects for Ukraine” stated Lee Yang-goo, former South Korean ambassador to Ukraine and chair of the Ukraine Support Joint Task Force, on August 1.


From South Korea’s end, eight agencies and groups including smart city-focused firms, healthcare agencies and smart agriculture-focused university research centers participated in the initial meeting that led to the establishment of this MOU, including the Gyeongsang National University Office of Academy and Industry Cooperation, Korea Lift College Sanhak[2], South Korea’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Green Doctors.


Sustainable development experts from the US, Lithuania and Israel participated. From Ukraine itself, the multitude of of public-private partnership participants (11 in total) included the Verhovna Rada’s[3] Committee on Digital Transformation, the Association of Industrial Automation of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Cluster Alliance and the Ministry of Territories and Communities Development of Ukraine (a government organization).


Up to now, various groups that participated in establishing this MOU on cooperation have organized and revised all sorts of reconstruction plans based on smart technology used in the K-City Network, Smart Farming and plant agriculture presented at various seminars related to Ukrainian reconstruction in Seoul, Busan and Jinju, which will later be presented to the Ukrainian and South Korean governments. 


As Lee Yang-goo, chairman of the “Ukraine Support Task Force” that launched the establishment of this MOU stated “The war that broke out with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 is still going on, yet the EU and various other members of the liberal-democratic camp began discussing Ukraine’s postwar recovery last March. South Korea would especially like to share its experience with Ukraine, which it has gained by virtue of its successful postwar construction after the Korean War, being the only democratic country to have restored its national strength to the point of being a rapidly-developed country and one of the top ten most economically powerful countries in the world.” Lee then urged Korean firms focused on IT, biomedicine and urban development to take a more active interest in Ukraine’s reconstruction. 


Moving forward, the Ukraine Support Task Force plans to focus on construction in particular provinces and cities incorporating “K-City” smart technology. As task force chairman Lee Yang-goo stated, while  managing volunteer groups and Ukraine support networks doing humanitarian work will be the task force’s priority, the task force will begin moving in the direction of providing treatment to Ukrainians injured in the war as well as promoting urban and agricultural development so as to raise Ukrainians’ quality of life. 


Meanwhile, at the beginning of July, Green Doctors (whose Secretary-General is Jeong Geun) which participated in the MOU on Ukraine’s reconstruction launched a “Million dollar pharmaceutical goods donation campaign” for Ukrainians who are unable to receive adequate medical care, receiving support from a wide range of contributors. 


As of late July, Green Doctors collected a respectable sum of pharmaceutical products worth a total of ₩620 million from the Yuhan Corporation, the Green Cross Corporation, ShinPoong Pharmaceuticals, CKD Pharmaceuticals, Samjin Pharmaceuticals, the Boryung Corporation, Dong-A ST, Daewoongbio, JW Pharmaceuticals, Celltrion Pharmaceuticals, Myungmoon Pharmaceuticals, HK inno.N, Myung In Pharmaceuticals, Aju Pharmaceuticals, the Dongwon Medipia Company and BC World Bio and Chemical R&D. The Gyeonggi-Do Medical Association (chaired by Lee Dong-wook) and On Hospital in Busan (whose director is Kim Dong Heon) plan to donate ultrasound scanners and EKGs, and have asked that they be donated directly to hospitals on site in Ukraine.


Then, on August 10th, Green Doctors plans to visit Ukraine directly to deliver the donated medical supplies and treatment equipment.



Original article by Jang Ji-dong. Translated by Anthony V. Rinna.


[1] Source: “Ukraine’s Reconstruction to Incorporate South Korean Smart Tech [우크라이나 재건에 한국 스마트기술접목한다]”, Christian Daily, August 2, 2022,

[2] Translator’s note 1: While this term in Korean (산학) translates as “academic and industrial (cooperation)”, the term is rendered on the lift college’s website as Sanhak in the Roman script.

[3] Translator’s note 2: “Verhovna Rada” is the Ukrainian term for the country’s national legislature, which translates as “Supreme Council”. In the original Korean it was rendered as “Verhovna Rada” transliterated into Hangeul (베르호브나 라다).

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