Nepal-Republic of Korea 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.
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,
- Dr. Rajan Bhattarai, Foreign Advisor to the Prime Minister of Nepal, visited the Republic of Korea from December 17 to 20, 2019 as an eminent guest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea.
- Hon. Mrs. Shashikala Dahal, Vice Chair of the National Assembly, Federal Parliament of Nepal visited the Republic of Korea from December 9 to 13, 2019 to participate in Asia Pacific Parliamentarians’ Meeting on Environment and Development.
- Rt. Honourable Mr. Ganesh Prasad Timilsina, Chairman of the National Assembly, Federal Parliament of Nepal paid an official visit to the Republic of Korea from September 3 to 6, 2019.
- Mr. Bishnu Paudel, General Secretary of the ruling Nepal Communist Party and former Minister of Finance of the Government of Nepal visited RoK from 25-28 June 2019 ,as an eminent guest, at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of RoK .
- Hon. Gokul Prasad Baskota, Minister for Communication, Information & Technology, visited Korea on 12 September 2018 to participate in the ICT Ministerial Meeting of Asia Pacific Region.
- Hon. Giriraj Mani Pokhrel, Minister for Education, Science & Technology, visited Korea from November 14 to 18, 2018 to participate in the “2018 Global ICT Leadership Forum” held in Seoul.
- The Chief of Army Staff of the Nepal Army General Rajendra Chetri visited RoK from 8 – 11 September 2016 to participate in ‘the Defense Expo Korea 2016’ held in Seoul.
- Hon. Janardan Sharma, Minister of Energy of the Government of Nepal, visited Korea in March 2017 to inaugurate Investment Program organized by the Embassy of Nepal under the theme ‘Investment for Nepal’s Energy Development from Korea’.
- The Foreign Secretary H.E. Shanker Das Bairagi made an official visit to Korea from 07 – 10 June 2016 and held talks with his counterpart. This visit was a part of regular interaction between two sides.
- 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 to 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.
- 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 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 to December 1, 2011 to take part in the fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
From the Korean side,
- Former chairperson of New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) Moon Jae-in visited Nepal in June 2016.
- Speaker of the National Assembly Jung Eui-hwa visited Nepal in April 2016.
- Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee of the National Assembly Ahn Hong-joon visited Nepal in January 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.
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 such projects are 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, Disaster Recovery Centre in Hetauda, and Improving Maternal and Child Health Care in Mugu. National Health Insurance Support Programme (2013 – 2017), Integrated Rural Development Programme (2014-2017) and MDG’s Development Effectiveness Enhancement Project, UNDP (2014-1016) are also the noted cooperation.
Trade and Investment
The trade volume between Nepal and the Republic of Korea is increasing over the years, with the balance of trade being heavily in favor of Korea. The recent three years of trade volume between Nepal and the Republic of Korea is as below:
|Nepal’s Export Import Data in relation to the Republic of Korea|
|(Amount in USD)|
Source: Trade and Export Promotion Center, Nepal
Both the Governments have encouraged respective private sectors to set up joint ventures in different areas. As of 2019/20 (Economic Survey of Nepal), 357 business entities are under South Korean investment worth Nepalese Rupees 12574 million.
Nepal has been one of the most favored tourist destinations for Korean people mostly in adventure tourism. In 2018 alone, the RoK contributed 37201 tourists to Nepal, standing the seventh largest tourist source for the country. In recent 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.N.||Year||Numbers||% of the total|
Source: Nepal Tourism Board
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 2000 Nepalese students, including 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 for 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.
Similarly in 2018, a large statue of Lord Buddha was brought from Nepal and installed in the touristic Waojangsa Buddhist Temple Area in Yongin city of the Republic of Korea at the initiative of the Nepalese Consulting Committee (NCC) Korea, a leading organization of the Nepali diaspora.
Training and Manpower Supply
There are a few training opportunities available from the RoK for Nepalese nationals in different disciplines such as agriculture, community development, and public works.
Regarding manpower supply, Nepal and Korea have signed an MOU under the Employment Permit System (EPS) in July, 2007, permitting Nepali people 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 has greatly streamlined the process of recruitment and employment of Nepali workers in Korea in a fair and transparent manner. As of July 2020, around 35000 Nepali youths under EPS are serving in Korean farms and industries.
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.
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. The current federal parliament of Nepal has a ten-member friendship group formed for the Republic of Korea.
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 first meeting of the Mechanism was held in Kathmandu in 2005. The second consultation mechanism meeting was held in Seoul on March 21, 2014 at the Joint Secretary level. Lately, the fourth meeting of BCM was held in Seoul in July 2018.
The RoK has been associated to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) as Observer. The RoK-SAARC Partnership Seminar is being held in Seoul every year since 2010.
Embassy of Nepal, Seoul
28 July, 2020