BILATERAL RELATIONS

Diplomatic relations between Nepal and the Republic of Korea were established in Counselor level in 1969 and was upgraded to Ambassadorial level in 1974. The Republic of Korea opened its Embassy in Kathmandu in 1974. The Government of Nepal has established its Embassy in Seoul in March 2007.

Nepal and South Korea have been enjoying very good understanding, goodwill and friendship. In 2004, Nepal and the Republic of Korea celebrated the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. The Foreign Ministers of Nepal and the RoK exchanged messages on the occasion. Deputy Foreign Minister of the RoK H.E. Mr Cho Young-jai visited Nepal as Congratulatory Envoy of the Republic of Korea in May 2004. Similarly, the year 2014 also marks as a special occasion to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relationship between Nepal and the Republic of Korea. To celebrate the occasion, the Embassy of Nepal in Seoul organized several activities including a seminar to promote Korean investment in Nepal. To mark the occasion, Hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Government of Nepal Mr. Mahendra Bahadur Pandey visited Korea and attended a special reception hosted by the Embassy.

Major visits

There have been exchanges of visits in different level between Nepal and the Republic of Korea over the time. Those visits have been instrumental in enhancing the bilateral cooperation as well as in widening the understanding between the people of the both countries.

From the Nepalese side,

  • Hon. Dr. Narayan Khadka, Minister for Physical Planning and Urban Development visited Korea from November 2 to 6, 2014 to participate in the 5th Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development.
  • Hon. Dr. Minendra Prasad Rijal, Minister for Information and Communication visited Korea from October 18 to 24, 2014 to participate in the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-14)-2014 in Busan.
  • Hon. Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Government of Nepal paid an official visit of the Republic of Korea from May 12-16, 2014 to mark the special occasion of celebrating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relationship between Nepal and the Republic of Korea.
  • Former Prime Minister Mr. Lokendra Bahadur Chand visited the Republic of Korea from August 18 to 22, 2004 to participate in the Inter-religious and International Federation for World Peace.
  • Hon. Hridayesh Tripathi, Minister for Physical Planning, Works and Transportation of the Government of Nepal paid an official visit of the Republic of Korea from August 20 to 24, 2012 at the invitation of HIs Excellency Mr. Kwon, Do-youp, Minister of the Ministry of Land, Transport and Marine Affairs of the Government of the Republic of Korea.
  • Finance Minister Mr. Barsha Man Pun visited South Korea from November 29-December 1, 2011 to take part in the forth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness.
  • Former Prime Minister Mr. Lokendra Bahadur Chand visited the Republic of Korea from August 18 to 22, 2004 to participate in the Inter-religious and International Federation for World Peace.
  • Mr. Raghuji Pant, the then Minister for Labor and Transport Management, visited the Republic of Korea leading a Nepalese delegation from October 16 to 22, 2004.
  • Hon. Mr. Krishna Lal Thakali, Minister for General Administration visited the Republic of Korea to participate in the 6th Global Forum on Reinventing Government, which was held in Seoul from May 24 to 27, 2005.

From the Korean side,

  • His Excellency Mr. Kim, Jung-hoon, Chairman of the National Policy Committee visited Nepal from January 19-22, 2014.
  • Congressman Mr. Choi Kyu-Sung of Republic of Korea visited Nepal on 8-11 August, 2011.
  • Chang Nae Sam, Deputy Minister for Construction and Water Resource Policy, Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, RoK visited Nepal on 25-26 July, 2011.
  • H.E. Mr. Yu Myung-hwan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Republic of Korea visited Nepal on 22 June, 2009.
  • Mr. Lee Sang Soo, Minister of Labour of Republic of Korea paid an official visit from 17-19 January 2007.
  • Deputy Foreign Minister of the RoK H.E. Mr. Cho Young-jai visited Nepal as Congratulatory Envoy of the Republic of Korea in May 2004.

 

Nepal-Korea Cooperation

The Republic of Korea is increasingly becoming an important and reliable partner in Nepal’s economic development. Construction, sericulture development, hydropower development, Road and infrastructure development, health Science, e-governance are some of the major areas supported by the Government of Korea to Nepal in the past. Korea also has assisted Nepal with soft loan through the Economic Cooperation Fund of Govt. of Korea. Nepal and Korea have signed Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) Agreement in 1997.

ROK is providing various supports to Nepal also through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) mostly in technical fields in various areas. Some of the ongoing projects which will be completed within 2014 are establishment of ICT Centre at Institute of Engineering, Modernization of Custom Administration, Health Service Improvement in Tikapur, Establishment of Technical Training Centre at Kathmandu University, and Master Plan for the Lumbini World Peace City Preservation and Development. Similarly, Disaster Recovery Centre in Hetauda, Improving Maternal and Child Health Care in Mugu would be completed in 2015. National Health Insurance Support Programme which was started in 2013 will be completed in 2017. Integrated Rural Development Programme (2014-2017) and MDG’s Development Effectiveness Enhancement Project, UNDP (2014-1016) are also in the pipeline.

Trade and Investment

However, the trade volume between Nepal and the Republic of Korea is increasing over the years; the balance of trade is heavily in favour of Korea. The total trade volume between Nepal and the Republic of Korea in the year 2009/2010, 2011/2012 stands at about US Dollar 74 million.
Both the Governments have encouraged respective private sectors to set up joint ventures in different areas. As of 2012/13, 170 business entities are under South Korean investment on Electronics, hotel industry, chemical industry, medicinal goods and mineral in the operation with an investment of Nepalese Rupees 4421 million. Lately, many Korean reputable companies have started showing interest in business ventures in Nepal. Some of the notable Korean Companies are Korea South-East Power Company (Upper Trishuli-A 216 MW), Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company (Chameliya- 30 MW) and Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-Water) (Upper Modi 62.6 MW). These companies, however state owned, are the leading companies in energy sectors of Korea.

Tourism

Nepal has been one of the most favored tourist destinations for Korean people mostly in adventure tourism. In 2004, 2005 and 2006, tourists arrival in Nepal from the RoK were 3189, 5475 and 7,002 respectively, which is around 2.0 per cent of the total tourist arrival in Nepal on respective years. “In the latter years, the number of South Korean tourists visiting Nepal has significantly increased. According to the statistics, the numbers of Korean tourist arrival are as follows.

S.No. Year Numbers
1 2009 16,145
2 2010 20,331
3 2011 24,888
4 2012 26,004

 

Culture

Both the Governments have concluded a Cultural Agreement on 30 March 2005. The cultural agreement envisages promoting and developing the cooperation between the two countries in the field of culture, art, education, youths, sports and tourism. About 600 Nepalese students, mainly in Doctoral and Post Doctoral Degrees, are pursuing their higher studies at the different universities in Korea.

The relationship between Nepal and the Republic of Korea are nurtured and fostered at the peoples’ level since centuries through the commonalities of cultural values and exchanges based on the lofty ideals of Buddhism. In continuation of maintaining the tradition, preserve and promote the ideals of Buddha, in joint cooperation of Dosunsa temple, one of the largest Buddhist Order of Korea and Embassy of Nepal, brought the Eternal Peace Flame from Lumbini, the birthplace of Shakyamuni Buddha, and installed it permanently at Dosunsa temple in April, 2013.

Training and Manpower Supply

The RoK has extended its cooperation in providing training to Nepali trainees under Industrial Training Scheme. In the beginning, the annual number of trainees was little over 1700. Since 2003, this number was increased gradually till the year 2005 and has been substantially decreased after the abolition of the system in December 2006. A few training opportunities are also available from the RoK for Nepalese nationals in different disciplines such as agriculture, community development, and public works.

In July, 2007 Nepal and Korea have signed a MOU under the Employment Permit System (EPS) that allows Nepali worker to go to work in Korea under the agreed guidelines to be implemented by the Governments of the both countries. The MOU facilitates all Nepali workers with guaranteed facilities and other social securities. Both sides believe that the Employment permit system will streamline the process of recruitment and employment of Nepali workers in Korea in a fair and transparent manner and will also help provide all kinds of social security while at work at par to its own nationals.

Volunteer Services

Under the agreement signed between the Government of Nepal and the Government of the RoK in January 1992, KOICA (Korea International Co-operation Agency) has opened its office in Nepal. Since then, KOICA has been dispatching middle level technical personnel to work as volunteers in various areas Nepal. For 2014, 67 volunteers would be dispatched from Korea.

Other Issues

Both countries have concluded an agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income; both countries have also agreed to form a Nepal-Korea International and Cooperation Committee of Industrialists and Businessmen.

Both the governments have signed a unified Air Services Agreement (ASA). As a result of this understanding the Korean Air is operating its regular flights in the Seoul-Kathmandu-Seoul sector every week.

A Nepal-Republic of Korea Parliamentarians Friendship Group was established in 2002 consisting of then five members of House of Representatives.

An Agreement for the establishment of Consultation Mechanism between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Nepal and the Republic of Korea was signed by the Foreign Minister of both the countries in October 2001. The second consultation mechanism meeting was held in Seoul on March 21, 2014 at the Joint Secretary level. The first meeting of the Mechanism was held in Kathmandu in 2005.

Republic of Korea has been associated as Observers to SAARC. It is believed that Korea’s association will not only expand its linkages with the region but also help its economic integration with member countries as well.

 

Embassy of Nepal
Seoul
November 13, 2014