Pakistan and Korea possess great potential in expanding bilateral ties in tourism, agriculture and trade sectors: Korean Ambassador
Ambassador of Republic of Korea to Pakistan Suh Sangpyo says there are bright prospects for Pakistani skilled youth entering into Korean market as workforce.
In an exclusive interview with News and Current Affairs Channel of Radio Pakistan, he said currently 1500 Pakistani students are studying in Korean institutes of higher learning in various technical and scientific fields, and many of them are on scholarships. He said due to pandemic restrictions, a further 1200 Pakistani students could not go to Korea after securing admissions but they will reach there when the restraints are lifted.
The South Korean ambassador said after completing their education, many Pakistani students easily find employment in Korean companies.
Suh Sangpyo said Korean government is providing assistance to set up an IT technology park in Pakistan to develop trained IT professionals in the country. He said IT Park constructions are key projects of the Economic Development Cooperation Fund of South Korean government. In 2019, Korea signed the framework agreement with Pakistan to provide $500 million of EDCF loans that give financial space for the construction of infrastructure in Pakistan.
He said Samsung is establishing a mobile phone manufacturing plant in Karachi where skilled Pakistani manpower will be employed to work in various departments.
Referring to historical ties between Korea and Pakistan, the ambassador said decades’ old bilateral relations between the two countries started in the 1960s and Seoul government borrowed Islamabad’s five year plan for its economic development and successfully implemented it. The relations further blossomed in the following years and in the 1970s and 1980s the South Korean tourists started visiting Pakistan to pay pilgrimage to a number of Buddhist religious sites scattered across the country. He said tourism is an area in which both Pakistan and Korea can increase their bilateral ties. Both countries recently signed a framework agreement to facilitate the entry of Korean tourists into Pakistan.
On business relations with Pakistan, the envoy said South Korean business giants like LG, Daewoo and Samsung already have a strong presence in Pakistani market with household products. He said due to law and order situation many Korean companies had to move out from the country in 2000s. But with the improvement in security environment, the situation is going to reverse in future. He said a number of Korean companies are interested in further investing in Pakistan’s lucrative market. He said Korean government is trying to increase its bilateral trade volume with Pakistan which currently stands at not so optimum level.
Regarding Korean investment in Pakistan’s infrastructure, he pointed towards the building of Lahore-Islamabad Motorway in the 1990s which was a mega project. He said in the energy sector, we are cooperating with Pakistani government in hydro power production. He said total investment in hydro power sector is around 4 billion dollars in Jammu and Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which may increase in future.
Suh Sangpyo said Pakistan can learn from Korean success in many areas including corporate and economic development, IT, water, and technical education. He said recently, a Korean finance delegation visited Pakistan to explore areas of cooperation. The delegation signed various MoUs of cooperation in diverse fields with Pakistani government. He said a delegation of Korean experts from agricultural technology also visited Pakistan in recent months to help Pakistan increase agricultural productivity. He said Korean agricultural experts can help Pakistan with coming up of new seed varieties for insect resistant crops and better yield. He said Pakistani agricultural as well as surgical products are well received in Korean market, along with textile goods.
The South Korean ambassador said Korean car manufacturing companies like Hyundai and Kia have also brought their feature laden cars in Pakistani market, which are receiving good response.
The weekly program “Diplomatic Session” was hosted by renowned journalist and columnist Javed Siddiq while Producer of the program was Saeed Ahmad and Executive Producer Abdul Raoof Khan.
The weekly program “Diplomatic Session” is being broadcast from News and Current Affairs Channel and FM 101 networks of Radio Pakistan every Saturday at 1815 hrs.
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