There is every prospect of increased Korean investments in Sri Lanka, said Korea's former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yu Myang-hwan yesterday (April 21).
The Republic of Korea greatly values its close ties with Sri Lanka, and will work with utmost enthusiasm to further strengthen its contribution to Sri Lanka's economic development in such fields as investment, trade and tourism, he added. The Korean dignitary also noted that 116 Korean companies operate in Sri Lanka; Mr. Yu Myang-hwan said when he called on External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday.
He said the establishment of direct air links between Seoul and Colombo last year is already acting as a catalyst in enhancing both tourism and business between the two countries.
Yu Myang-hwan added that under the Country Partnership Strategy that has been introduced by the Korean Government, Sri Lanka has been identified to utilise Korean assistance in the priority areas of economic and social infrastructure, as well as technical and secondary education. Sri Lanka is one of the largest beneficiaries of KOICA, the international development assistance arm of the Republic of Korea.
Prof. G. L. Peiris expressed appreciation of the significant services rendered by KOICA in the development of the water and sanitation sector, in particular, in Sri Lanka.
Korea has made available to Sri Lanka five experts in the fields of indigenous medicine, waste management, ICT and agriculture, and these experts have shared their experience with Sri Lankan officials under the World Friends Korea Program on a voluntary basis.
The Ministers noted that labour relations and environmental co-operation are other important components of the bilateral relationship. Prof. Peiris appreciated the employment opportunities available in Korea for the Sri Lankan expatriate labour force. He also acknowledged, as an exceedingly useful development the launch of the Korea - Sri Lanka Environmental Co-operation Forum.
They also noted that Sri Lanka's trade with South Korea under the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement is at present growing by almost 46 percent. Minister Peiris explained in detail the reasons why Sri Lanka is not able to accept the Resolution regarding the country, adopted by the Human Rights Council last month.
Given Korea's understanding of ground realities in Sri Lanka, and considering the Resolution's interference with domestic processes, he hoped that the Republic of Korea would change its position in this regard in the future.