S. Korea — Sri Lanka to boost cooperation

Our government will do its utmost to strongly and firmly deal with such provocations to the end together with Sri Lanka and all other countries.

by Yonhap News Agency 

( November 29, 2017, Seoul, Sri Lanka Guardian) The leaders of South Korea and Sri Lanka agreed Wednesday to further improve their countries’ bilateral ties and enhance their economic and diplomatic cooperation to boost bilateral trade and peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.

The agreement came in a summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his Sri Lankan counterpart, Maithripala Sirisena, held at the South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

President Moon expressed gratitude for what he called Sri Lanka’s support and cooperation in dealing with the North Korean nuclear issue, Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release.

The Moon-Sirisena meeting came hours after the communist North launched what appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile in its first armed provocation in 75 days. The missile launch marked the 11th of its kind since the new South Korean president came into office in May.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena shake hands before the start of an expanded bilateral summit at the South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Nov. 29, 2017. (Yonhap)

“Our government is actively pursuing the New South Policy that seeks to ensure peace and co-prosperity of a joint community through cooperation with Southeast and Southwest Asian countries. As Sri Lanka is an important partner in our New South Policy, I wish the two countries will pool their wisdom and strength to ensure peace not only in Sri Lanka but our entire region,” Moon said, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.

The South Korean leader also asked for Sri Lanka’s support in ending North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations, calling the North’s latest missile test staged earlier in the day a grave challenge to global peace.

“I strongly condemn North Korea’s reckless provocation that raises tension on the Korean Peninsula and seriously threatens international peace and stability,” he said. “Our government will do its utmost to strongly and firmly deal with such provocations to the end together with Sri Lanka and all other countries.”

Sirisena said his country will continue to fully implement U.N. Security Council sanctions against North Korea.

“Another thing I wish to stress is that Sri Lanka will always support South Korea on both domestic and international issues. I believe what you Mr. President declared in Berlin will contribute greatly to establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula, and I support them,” he said through his interpreter.

The Sri Lankan president also expressed support for the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games to be held here early next year, calling it a great opportunity to “reduce tension and establish peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Cheong Wa Dae said.

Sirisena arrived here Tuesday on a three-day state visit. He is the third foreign leader to make a state visit to South Korea since Moon’s inauguration.

Wednesday’s summit also followed what Cheong Wa Dae called a friendly meeting between the two leaders on Tuesday, when the South Korean president accompanied the Sri Lankan leader on a brief visit to a Buddhist temple in Seoul.

In their first bilateral summit, the two leaders noted their countries’ relationship has steadily developed over the last four decades since they established diplomatic ties in 1977 and agreed to continue building their cooperative relationship as partners for peace and prosperity.

To this end, the leaders agreed to increase exchanges between their ranking government officials and boost cooperation in the defense industry.

Seoul will also increase its low-interest loans to the Southwest Asian country under its Economic Development Cooperation Fund to US$500 million from the current $300 million in the 2017-2019 period, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

“In addition, the two leaders agreed to work together to make sure Sri Lankan workers in South Korea under the country’s Employment Permit System will serve as a bridge between the two countries, and expand the countries’ exchanges in the cultural and tourism sectors,” it said, noting there were currently around 30,000 Sri Lankan workers in South Korea.

Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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