KATHMANDU: The newly appointed Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Nepal, Park Chong-suk, presented credentials to President Bidya Devi Bhandari amidst a special function at her office in Shital Niwas on Sunday.

“I am highly honoured and happy to take up my assignment as the Korean Ambassador to Nepal,” Ambassador Park said. “Korea and Nepal have enjoyed very cordial relationship since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1974 and during my tenure, I will do my best to take the bilateral relations to a new level,” he further added.

During the credential ceremony, Ambassador Park also conveyed gratitude to the President for valuable support extended by Nepal Government in search and rescue mission of the four Korean trekkers who were succumbed to a tragic incident in an avalanche in Annapurna region in January this year, the statement issued by the South Korean embassy in Kathmandu.

“The two countries have been enjoying friendly and cordial relations for more than 46 years, and the diplomatic relation is being strengthened further by exchanges of high level visits,” mentioned Ambassador Park. The current President of the Republic of Korea, Moon Jae-in visited Nepal three times before his election to the post of the President. In one account, he was physically involved in labour work in the reconstruction of a village school in Nuwakot district, which exhibits his deep empathy and liking to Nepal and Nepali people.

Similarly, Chung Ui Hwa, the former Speaker of the National Assembly of Korea paid a visit to Nepal in 2016 and the Chairman of the National Assembly, Ganesh Prasad Timilsina also made an official trip to Korea in September, 2019.

Around 34,000 Nepali workers are working in Korea through Korea’s Employment Permit System (EPS). Many returnee migrants from Korea have made a successful transition to running their own businesses in Nepal, which generate employment for fellow Nepalis. Through the capital and experience acquired in Korea, Nepalis have set up businesses in manufacturing and agricultural sectors. Also, around 30 thousand Korean tourists visit Nepal for trekking and pilgrimage every year.

According to the statement, the Korean Government is extending cooperation and assistance in development works of Nepal through KOICA. KOICA has focused on three key areas in Nepal: education, health, rural development. These are priority areas for the Government of Nepal. During the period 1991-2019, a total investment of $154million was made: 23.44% in education sector, 16.33% in health, 18.46% in public administration and 11.5% in agriculture and rural development so on. As of September 2020, KOICA has 10 ongoing bilateral projects.

Past successful projects have been KNIT (Korea-Nepal Institute of Technology) in Butwal and KUTTC (Kathmandu University Technical Training Centers), which were built with the assistance of Korean Government. These centers offer technical education training, which is in high demand in Nepal.

During the beginning of the outbreak of COVID-19, the Korean Government also donated Nepal the medical supplies for COVID-19 such as PCR kits and medical masks through KOICA.

In the future, it is expected that more foreign investment will come from Korea. Korean investors are looking for opportunities in South Asia; and Nepal’s hydropower, manufacturing, herbal medicines, and software development could be key attractions. The successful signing of Financial Agreement of 216MW Upper Trishuli-1, which is a privately funded project, has set a positive example for all other investors.

Finally, Ambassador Park expressed his confidence that during his tenure, the bilateral relation between the two countries will reach to a new height and he will leave no stone unturned for the same.

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