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President begins his South Korean tour unveiling a new era in friendly ties

Apr 23, 2012 10:42:54 AM - itnnews.lk

President Rajapaksa begins his official tour of South Korea amidst a warm welcome of the Korean people.

President Rajapaksa and his entourage including First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa left the island last night on the South Korean tour at the invitation of his South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-Bak. They reached the capital Seoul this morning Sri Lankan time.

On arrival the President and his delegation were warmly greeted by South Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Kim Sung-han. Sri Lankan Embassy officials including the Ambassador Tissa Wijeratne were present on the occasion. The President was accorded a guard of honor by the South Korean Army.

During his stay President Rajapaksa will hold bilateral discussions with his South Korean counterpart while several agreements important to both countries are due to be inked. The President will attend a meting to be organized by four leading business organizations in Seoul. It will be hosted by the Busan Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is scheduled to deliver a special address.

Bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and South Korea date back to 1968 when South Korea opened a trade mission in Colombo. These relations further expanded in 1977 when the Republic of Korea opened its embassy in Colombo. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Japan was concurrently accredited to Seoul in 1978. The first Sri Lankan resident embassy in Seoul was opened in 1987. Since then the two countries have continuously developed strong ties in a variety of fields.

Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris, Parliamentarians Sajin Vaas Gunawardena, Nishantha Muthuhettigama, Roshan Ranasinghe and Sunny Rohana, President’s Secretary to the Lalith Weeratunga, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabral and a business delegation have joined the President in this four-day official visit.