Sri Lanka is not only one of Korea’s priority ODA cooperation partner countries, but also one of the top five countries that are benefitted from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund of Korea, Woonjin Jeong, the newly appointed Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Sri Lanka said.

In a message to mark  the National Foundation Day of the Republic of Korea which falls today (3 October) Ambassador Jeong said that since the  establishment of the diplomatic relations in 1977, Korea and Sri Lanka have come a long way together to form a cordial bilateral partnership cemented by  mutual trust and respect .

The Ambassador said that the sum of investment in various ODA projects and grants for Sri Lanka since 1987 is over US $ 600 million.

“The Sri Lanka office of KOICA, which was established in Colombo in 1994 has assisted and funded commercial and infrastructure projects of Sri Lanka, thus augmenting the development of Sri Lanka. Korea has been promoting projects in the various fields such as education, transportation, water resources, sanitation, and regional development in Sri Lanka. As a reliable friend, Korea is a trustworthy partner of Sri Lanka to meet the current needs of national development,” the message said.

He added that Korea considers Sri Lanka as an important economic, trade and investment partner and is extremely keen on boosting two-way trade and investment in ways which benefit the economies of both countries.

“Approximately 3,000 diligent Sri Lankan workers seek job opportunities annually, and around 23,000 Sri Lankan workers are presently employed in Korea, contributing to the economic advancement of both countries. They have transmitted as much as US $ 520 million to Sri Lanka in 2019. The migrant workers bridge both countries in more ways than one, as they continue to promote favourable interests in Korea and raise awareness among the public even after they return to Sri Lanka. The expansion of migrant employment for Sri Lankans in the Republic of Korea will result in furthering economic and commercial ties of both countries,” he said.

On the other hand, both Korea and Sri Lanka have successfully coped with COVID-19 which has made the two countries among the safest places in the world. Korea is trying to provide tangible support to Sri Lanka to counter and combat COVID-19 this year, strengthening its cooperation to uplift public health in Sri Lanka.

The Ambassador pledged to do his best to deepen and widen the ties our two countries, Korea, and Sri Lanka.

The Ambassador in his message gave an overview of his country.

The story of Korea began when Dangun, the legendary founding father built the first Korean nation on the earth in 2333 BCE. Korean people celebrate the day as Gaecheonjeol, or National Foundation Day.

Devastated by the Korean War in the 1950s, Korea suffered from extreme poverty and was completely dependent on international support to recover the economy. Korea’s economic miracle, so called ‘The Miracle on Han River’ is a story of overcoming many hardships by the Korean people that led to the national transformation from poverty to prosperity. Within a few decades, Korea witnessed a remarkable growth in the gross national income per capita which had increased nearly 500-fold, from 67 USD in 1953 to 31,430 USD in 2019.

Now Korea has the 10th largest economy of the world with the Gross Domestic Production amounting to 1.64 trillion USD. Also the total trade volume was more than 1 trillion USD last year, resulting in Korea becoming the 7th highest exporting country and the 11th largest importer of goods and services in the world. The strength of world-renowned enterprises such as Samsung, Hyundai and LG also empowered the Korean economy to rise from ashes into a global economic powerhouse.

Korea, once an international aid recipient, has now become an aid donor. Korea has grown to become the first donor country recognized as such, coming from the ranks of recipient countries. Korea is thankful to the international society including Sri Lanka for the support extended to Korea in the past. Now the time has come for Korea to repay by joining the global efforts to assist developing countries. Korea wishes to be a beacon of hope and a source of inspiration for Sri Lanka to reach the pinnacle of national development and prosperity.