Korean embassy hosts end-of-year feast for media persons Pakistan’s security, economic situation much improved, tourism has huge potential

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Zubair Qureshi

South Korean companies are keen to invest in Pakistan and the government of Korea wants to expand its relations with Pakistan in trade, culture, education, energy, tourism and agriculture etc sectors and some major developments will take place in this regard in the coming year 2020.
Minister Conuselor Embassy of South Korea Seung Man Sang struck this note of optimism while talking to a select group of journalists at an “End of the Year Luncheon”.
Counselor Culture, Mr Ko and staff member of the Korean embassy Jeonghun Byeon were also present on the occasion.
Seung Man Sang spoke on a wide range of subjects with regard to Pak-Korean relations and termed the prevailing security and economic situation under Prime Minister Imran Khan much improved and hoped this will improve further so that Korean companies and investors could feel secure while making investment in Pakistan’s huge market.
About the ongoing cooperation, Mr Seung said there are a number of projects in energy, communications sectors and some of these are either already completed or under completion stage with the support of Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Korean government like clean water, solar system, IT parks and support to textile university in Faisalabad.
“A Korean expert in agriculture is visiting Pakistan next year for technical support and will be holding meetings with officials of PARC and NARC,” said he.
Korean government has also supported National University of Science & Technology (NUST) with US$10 million in solar energy project another assistance worth US$80 million in energy sector has also been extended, he said.
About the year 2019, he said the passing out year saw two landmark visits of the Korean parliamentarians and a visit of the Buddhist monks to Pakistan to enhance parliamentary and tourism relations between the two countries.
To a question regarding exploring tourism potential between the two countries, the Korean DHM said Korea said is a country of 50 million population and out of that number 40 million are tourists.
Every year around 10,000 Koreans visit Pakistan but the number of those living here is below 1000 and the rest are mostly travelers, he said.
If security situation allows and the government provides facilities of international standards at the country’s major tourist destinations, Pakistan can attract a much greater number of Korean tourists.
He also talked about the visit of President of Jogye Order Wonhaeng, the biggest denomination of Buddhism in South Korea along with 30 Buddhist monks last month and viewed that visit would give impetus to religious tourism in Pakistan.
To a question, Mr Seung Man Sang said Korea has increased Pakistan’s quota for labour from 1000 to 1500 for the year 2020. However, he said illegal stay by Pakistanis is one of the major challenges that the two governments are presently confronted with.
Korean companies like to hire Pakistani workers as they are competent and skilful and at present there are around 13,000 working in various sectors of Korean industry. To a question, he said the Korean government allows three-year work visa then extends it to two more years and around 500 to 600 Pakistani workers arrive in the country every year.
Korea is keen to see peace between Pakistan and India and is also watching the situation in Afghanistan with great concern, he said. In the upcoming international conference marking 40th anniversary of hosting refugees to be held in February 2020, Korean government would engage the two nations of Pakistan and Afghanistan to address trust deficit and work for peace and common goals.
About Pak-Korean relations, he said, “We are keen to see people-to-people and government-to-government relations between the two countries and would continue efforts in that direction.”