NEPAL-KOREA RELATIONS: Fifty-Years Of Warm Relations

As Nepal and Korea is celebrating fifty years of establishment of diplomatic relations holding various programs and events, Korea’s prominent mountaineer Um Hung Gil led Nepal-Korea joint expedition team reached at the Peak of Jugal Mountain, a virgin mountain, proving the slogan of Everesting the relations of Fifty-Years of establishment of diplomatic relations

May 31, 2024, 10:32 a.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL. 17, No. 20, May.24,2024 (Jestha-11. 2081) Publisher and Editor: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

On May 3, a joint team of Nepal and the Republic of Korea (RoK) climb Mt Jugal I. The maiden ascent of Mt Jugal took place to mark the completion of 50 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. This is a significant achievement for both countries.

Led by Captain Um Hong Gil, world’s prominent Korean climber, alongside Lakpa Dendi Sherpa and Lama Babu Sherpa, climbers from Nepal and Korea, participating in the Nepal-Korea Friendship Expedition-2024, have successfully summited the virgin peak of Jugal-I in Sindhupalchok reached the peak on May 3.

NMA General Secretary Mohan Lamsal expressed the confidence that the maiden ascent on Mt Jugal by the joint team will contribute towards promoting tourism in Nepal and strengthening the two countries bilateral relations further. He said this expedition is considered important also because it is linked with tourism diplomacy.

Renowned Korean mountaineer and honorary Nepali citizen Aum Hong Gill expressed that reaching the peak of the mountain at this year is highly important for not only mountaineers but also governments and people of both the countries.

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As Nepal-Korean joint team climbed the virgin peak of Mt Jugal, Nepal has made another progress in industrial sector with support from Korean Hundai Company establishing a world class car assembly plant in Nepal. Investing in various sectors, Republic of Korea has placed itself as a four top foreign investor in Nepal.

The bilateral relations between Nepal and Korea have been taking new height in the last fifty years. Republic of Korea has been proving all kinds of support to Nepal.

Korea Is Ready to Support Nepal’s Economic Development: Ambassador Park Tae Young

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Park Tae Young, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Nepal, expressed the possibility of a High-level visit during the 50th anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Korea and Nepal.

He highlighted the meeting between President Yoon Suk Yeol of the Republic of Korea and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda at the UN General Assembly last year.

Additionally, he emphasized the visit of the Agriculture Minister from Korea and the Special Envoy of the Korean President to Nepal. As both countries commemorate 50 years of Diplomatic Relations, Ambassador Park Tae Young mentioned the likelihood of high-level meetings taking place.

He also mentioned that various programs are being organized to celebrate this milestone. Furthermore, he shared that Korean and Nepali expedition teams successfully reached the summit of Mount Jugal as part of the anniversary celebrations.

During a Media Briefing program held at the Ambassador's Residence, Ambassador Park Tae Young stated that the Republic of Korea will continue to support Nepal's economic development.

The speaker highlighted the cultural ties between Korea and Nepal, particularly through Buddhism.

He mentioned that a significant number of Korean Buddhists have been visiting Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha.

During the program, Park Tae Young provided the media with an overview of the diplomatic history, economic relations, development, and employment cooperation between the Republic of Korea and Nepal. Mooheon Kong, the Country Director of KOICA Nepal, also presented the ongoing programs implemented by KOICA Nepal for economic development.

Additionally, Doa Kim (Roshani), the Project Action Officer of KOICA, briefed the audience about KOICA's current programs aimed at strengthening the state-wise support system for the stable reintegration of returnee migrants in Nepal.

The diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and Nepal were established in 1974 with the opening of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Kathmandu. In 2007, Nepal established its embassy in Seoul. Over the past decade, there have been numerous high-level exchanges between the two countries, including visits by ministers and special envoys of the President.

The bilateral trade between Korea and Nepal has seen a significant rise, increasing from $0.1 million in 1970 to $37 million in 2023. Over the years, Korea has provided ODA amounting to $282.4 million to Nepal in various sectors such as Health, Water & Sanitation, Education, Rural Development, and Energy from 1987 to 2022. Additionally, a Memorandum of Understanding for the Employment Permit System was signed between Korea and Nepal in 2007, leading to 19,739 Nepalese EPS workers entering Korea in 2023.

As of February 2024, there are currently 43,963 Nepalese workers employed in Korea, with 6,497 Nepalese students pursuing higher education in Korea as of March 2023, ranking Nepal 5th in terms of the number of international students in Korea. The Embassy is planning to organize various events in the future, including a Speech Contest, Quiz on Korea, Cultural performances, Exhibition, Taekwondo, Workshops supporting successful resettlement of Nepali Migrant Returnees from Korea, Development Experiences Sharing Seminar, Workshop on Cooperation on Climate Change, and Seminar on Economic cooperation. Furthermore, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Nepal Office, established in 1995, has briefed on the projects carried out by KOICA in Nepal.

During the press briefing, the ambassador Park Tae Young also expressed Korea's willingness to offer support in the development of the hydropower sector. He highlighted the successful completion of the 30 MW Chameliya hydropower project and transmission line project, which was made possible through a concessional loan from the Korean-Exim Bank.

Furthermore, he mentioned that negotiations are currently underway with the Korean Bank for another concessional loan to construct a transmission line. The ambassador also shared that a Korean private company is currently engaged in the construction of the largest hydro power project in Upper Trishul-1, while Korea's largest company, Hyundai, and is partnering with a Nepali private company to establish a car assembly plant in Nepal.

Additionally, he emphasized the significant investments made by Korean companies in Nepal, particularly in the IT and electronic sectors. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Korean visitors used to rank among Nepal's top ten tourists.

The ambassador stressed the importance of signing double taxation and other bilateral agreements between Korea and Nepal to ensure the safety and security of Korean investments in Nepal. He further highlighted that such agreements would contribute to an increase in Korean investment, solidifying Korea's position as the fourth largest foreign investor in Nepal.

KOICA, the leading development cooperation agency in Korea, is responsible for the development and administration of grant aid programs including bilateral/multilateral projects, fellowship programs, volunteer programs, and more.

The K-Hami Project by KOICA is designed to enhance a stage-wise support system for the successful reintegration of Korean Returnee Migrants in Nepal.

This project, scheduled to run from 2022 to 2028, will focus on establishing a positive cycle and support structure for returnees based on their migration stage, with the aim of contributing to Nepal's socio-economic development and boosting employment rates. Ultimately, the project's objective is to achieve Happy Migration and Happy Life.

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