The year 2013 is of special significance as Korea and Pakistan celebrate 45 years of establishment of diplomatic relations since 1968 at Consul General level and 30 years at ambassadorial level.
Korea and Pakistan established their official diplomatic relations in 1968 and Oh Jee-hee was first Korean Ambassador to Pakistan. Since then the relationship between both Asian nations grew in the best interest of the people of both the nations whereas interactions were made at various official and non-official level to encourage socio-economic uplifts. As a result of good relationships, Pakistan being a responsible nation, supported the resolution on Korea in the United Nations during Korean War and also became member of the UN Commission on Korea.
Since early 1980s till today, the diplomatic relations of both Korea and Pakistan have grown with special emphasis on trade and economic activities. Recently, the 12th Korean Ambassador to Pakistan, Choong Joo Choi pointed out that Korean investment of around more than $5 billion is in pipelines. Currently, the Pak-Korea bilateral trade is amounted to $1.6 billion which will increases manifolds as it has the potential to increase. Mr Choi further said that Korea wants to strengthen their friendly relations by providing assistance to Pakistan in uplifting the socio-economic activities for a better tomorrow. Pakistan also wants to reciprocate through other channels as well.
In order to celebrate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations in a befitting manner, Mr Choi took an initiative by organizsng an event of Korea – Pakistan Business Forum, 2013 in Karachi with a vital theme “Missing Trade Links in our Emerging Markets”. It was well received by the trade and business communities of both the countries.
Mr Choi while meeting the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif reiterated his government’s stance to cooperate for the betterment of both the countries by unifying efforts at the economic and social fronts. He also stressed on the business community to have maximum advantage of the expertise of the Korean companies already in Pakistan so as to uplift the economic activities and to take the diplomatic relations at new heights. He further said that the “30 years young relations” are now bearing fruits of each other success and experiences in various fields of life.
Pakistan and Korea should further strengthen their engagement in economic sphere where huge potential exists. He reiterated that Korea can particularly invest in energy sector and science and technology fields. He said a large number of Pakistani students are getting education from Korean institutions and emphasized the need to enhance number of scholarships for Pakistani students as they can act as a bridge between the two countries. South Korea is also member of Friends of Pakistan.
Korea is not new for many Pakistanis as good number of Korean companies becomes household names like Samsung, LG, Hyundai, Daewoo etc. Apart from others, most of the prominent Korean conglomerates, such as Lotte Group, POSCO, CK Solar, K-Water, KORAIL, Sambu Constructions, Doosan, Doekjae, Shangyong, Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), Wisdom, STX, Deokjae Construction, Sambo Engineering, Korea Construction Institute of Plant (KCIP) etc. are engaged or are interested to participate in tenders of mega infrastructure projects, such as roads, chemical plants, tunnels, hydro power projects, thermal power projects, refineries etc.
Ambassador Choi, during his tenure as Chief Diplomat of Korea in Pakistan has taken number of result oriented initiatives especially with reference to appointments of Honorary Consul in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan in order to enhance people to people contacts which will go for a longer run. This special initiative shows their friendly patronage to the over looked provinces.
Mr CJ Choi, during his tenure also visited Khyber Pakhtunkhwa many times so as to have some knowhow about the province and to increase interaction with business community along with political leadership with an aim to uplift social-sector accordingly. In his recent visit for Flag hoisting ceremony at the residence of newly appointed Honorary Consul, Afan Aziz, he also visited Malik Saad Shaheed Sports Trust (Regd.) Pakistan (MSSST). The visiting Ambassador who was accompanied by Afan Aziz was warmly received by Chairman MSST, Malik Naveed Khan, Members Board of Trustees (BOT) namely Mr. Ahmad Hassan, Syed Ali Nawaz Gilani, Mr Mazhar-ul-Haq, Mr Imtiaz Ahmad Ali and Mr Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi along with MSSST office bearers upon his arrival.
The Chairman MSSST briefed the distinguished guests on the aims and objectives of the MSSST and informed him about future planning for enhancement in the net work of the Trust to other parts of the country. The Chairman also informed about the establishment of more than 100 Sports Academies of different sports in all major cities/towns of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA during short span of time. Mr Choi appreciated the MSSST initiatives for Peace through sports, education and healthcare facilities while reviewing the picture gallery at MSSST office. He said that this shows the dedication and devotion of the MSSST team towards achievement of their aims and objectives of establishment of the MSSST. He further said that MSSST rendering valuable services to the people by providing them opportunities for healthy sports activities apart from encouraging deserving youth in education. Apart from parliamentary delegations, the Ambassador expressed his interest in exchange of delegations between Korea and MSSST which will further enhance the mutual understanding among the people on both the sides which can be fruitful to share the experiences of each other in their respective fields.
The writer is a Peshawar-based media consultant and can be contacted at [email protected]