President Moon Jae-in and Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena agreed during summit talks here Wednesday to bolster bilateral ties and work together to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.
The two countries agreed to enhance their economic and diplomatic cooperation to boost two-way trade as they celebrate the 40th anniversary of bilateral relations this year.
South Korea agreed to increase its low-interest loans to Sri Lanka under its Economic Development Cooperation Fund to $500 million from the current $300 million in the 2017-2019 period.
President Moon Jae-in poses for a picture with Sri Lankan leader Maithripala Sirisena at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Wednesday prior to their summit. (Yonhap)
The Sri Lankan leader, who began his three-day state visit on Tuesday, is the third foreign leader to make a state visit to South Korea since Moon took office in May.
Hours before the two leaders’ summit talks Wednesday, Pyongyang launched what appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile in its first armed provocation in 75 days.
President Moon expressed his gratitude for Sri Lanka’s support and cooperation in dealing with North Korea’s provocations, Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release.
“President Sirisena expressed support for our government’s efforts to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue and establish peace on the Korean Peninsula while sternly dealing with North Korean provocations,” it said.
“President Sirisena also expressed his support and active cooperation for our government’s efforts to turn the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games into an opportunity to reduce tension and establish peace on the Korean Peninsula.”
In their first bilateral summit, President Moon noted that Sri Lanka was an important partner in his “New Southern Policy,” which aims to strengthen ties with South Asian and Southeast Asian nations.
The two leaders agreed to increase exchanges of high-level government officials, expand cooperation in the defense industry, and seek ways for South Korean companies to take part in major urban development and infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka.
“In addition, the two leaders agreed to work together to make sure Sri Lankan workers in South Korea under the country’s Employment Permit System will serve as a bridge between the two countries, and expand the countries’ exchanges in the cultural and tourism sectors,” Cheong Wa Dae said, noting there were around 30,000 Sri Lankans in South Korea.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org