Today's event commemorates the founding of the first nation-state on the Korean Peninsula in 2333 BC. I am delighted to celebrate with you. Korea and Nepal are approaching the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations next year since 1974. In preparing for the next 50 years, we are looking back on last 50 years. Here today, I like to highlight the past50 years with some numbers. Let me start with the big numbers.
The number “15”.Our government has designated Nepal as a priority cooperation country for 15consecutive years in development cooperation focusing on vocational training, health, agriculture, and ICT. Over the past 30 years, KOICA has implemented 157development projects and provided degrees or training opportunities to Korea to around 2,000 Nepalese people. We will always be a partner to Nepal preparing to graduate from the least developed country status in 2026.
Next, it's the number “4”. Korea is the fourth largest foreign investor for Nepal. Samsung Electronics has been operating a state-of-the-art TV factory since last April. And, a Nepalese company, in partnership with Hyundai Motors, is preparing to start Nepal’s first automobile production in Newalpalasi in the first half of next year. A Korean wig company, Mandumo, invested here and hired 680 Nepalese women. A bilateral investment treaty with Nepal is necessary to attract more investments by Korean companies. We are working on it.
It's the number “3”.South Korea is in the process of constructing its third hydropower plant in Nepal. The Korean government and companies completed the Modi Khola Hydropower Plant in 2000 and the Chameliya one in 2018. The 216-megawatt Upper Trishili-1hydropower plant is under construction for its operation in 2027. Korea will continue to cooperate in realizing Nepal's hydropower development potential.
Last, it is the number“1”. Nepal has secured the top position among Korea's 16 EPS partner nations for the first time this year. Throughout this year, opportunities to work in Korea have been provided to 20,000 individuals. Since2007, over 100,000 Nepalese migrant workers have worked in Korea on equal terms with Koreans. We also provide follow-up support for resettlement and start-up preparation for returnee workers.
Although the two countries are geographically distant, Nepal and Korea share many historical and cultural similarities. 30,000 Koreans visit Nepal every year for trekking in the Himalayas, and pilgrimage to Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha. Many young Nepalese people are learning Taekwondo and enjoying K-Pop.
Last week, on September 21 on the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly, President Yoon Suk-yeol and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal held a bilateral summit in New York. In anticipation of the 50thanniversary, they discussed how to further deepen cooperation across various domains.
I kindly request all of you to join us in fostering and expanding cooperation with affection and interest in the Korea-Nepal relationship.
Park Tae-Young is the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Nepal. Excerpts of the statement delivered at a reception held to celebrate the national day of the Republic of Korea.