By Kim Sung-min
Ambassador Zahid Nasrulah Khan of Pakistan said, “Pakistan and Korea relations have grown from strength to strength in all fields, especially in trade and investment. Significantly, we are at the cusp of initiating the first round of FTA talks, very recently on 21st March, the two countries inked a loan agreement of US$88 million for construction of state of the art 45 acres IT Park in Islamabad and last but not the least ac consortium of Korean companies are investing in hydro power projects worth more than US$2 billion.”
Ambassador Khan made the statement at a reception he and Mrs. Khan hosted at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul on March 23, 2017 in celebration of the Pakistan Day 2017. (See excerpts from his speech toward the end of this article.)
Many distinguished guests attended the reception from all walks of life from Korean society as well as from the international community, the Seoul Diplomatic Corps in particular.
In response, Minister of Environment Cho Kyeung-kyu made a congratulatory speech. He stated in part, “The Father of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, believed that ‘With faith, discipline and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve’ and indeed you have lived up to his calling.” Then Minister Cho said, “Pakistan is now the sixth most populous country in the world and one of the so-called ‘Next-Eleven’ with the potential to be the world’s largest economies in the 21st Century.”
Minister Cho had a long string of praises for Pakistan and went on to say, “You have the world’s seventh largest pool of scientists and engineers, and already have produced two Nobel laureates.” (See excerpts from his speech at the end of this article.)
Among the guests in attendance from the Korean side were Minister of Environment Cho Kyeung-kyu, Korean Honorary Consul Shin Tae-yong of Pakistan, Vice President Kim Sun-hyang of the Korean Red Cross Society, Korean Red Cross Executive Mrs. Ki-hak Sung (wife of the chairman of the Youngone Corporation) and Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media.
There were an unusually large number of ambassadors present at the reception with their spouses. Among them were Ambassadors Albino Malungo of Angola, Md. Zulfiqur Rahman of Bangladesh, Luis Fernando de Andrade Serra of Brazil, Dato Mohd Rosli Sabtu of Brunei Darussalam, Petar Andonov of Bulgaria, Dimanche Long of Cambodia, Sylvestre Kouassi Bile of Cote d'Ivoire, Hany Moawad Selim Labib of Egypt, Adel Mohammad Adaileh of Jordan, Bader Mohammad Al-Awadi of Kuwait, Askar Beshimove of Kyrgyzstan, Khamsouay Keodalavong of Lao Republic, Peteris Vaivars of Latvia, Dato Rohana binti Ramli of Malaysia, Chafik Rachadi of Morocco, Andrew Yamanea of Papua New Guinea, Irineo Raul Silvero Silvagni of Paraguay, Antonio Quintero Nobre of Portugal Mihai Ciompec of Romania, Alexander Andreevich Tomonin of Russia, Gonzalo Ortiz Diaz-Tortosa of Spain, Niroshani Gunasekera of Sri Lanka, Linus von Castelmur of Switzerland, ValSarun Charoensuwan of Thailand, Mohamed Ali Nafti of Tunisia, Hakan Okcal of Turkey, Myrat Mammetalyyev of Turkmenistan, Abdulla Saif al Nuaimi of the United Arab Emirates and Botirjon Asadov of Uzbekistan.
Excerpts from the welcome speech of Ambassador Khan of Pakistan:
Assalam-o-Alaikum! (May peace be upon you!), An nyung-ha se yo
A very good evening,
It gives me great pleasure and honour to welcome all our distinguished guests on the joyous occasion of Pakistan National Day. My special thanks to His Excellency Cho KyeungKyu, Minister of Environment, for gracing the occasion as the Chief Guest. Excellency, your presence this evening reflects the longstanding close and friendly relations between Pakistan and Korea.
It was on this historic Day that the Muslims of India in 1940 at the city of Lahore adopted the Resolution calling for a separate homeland that culminated in the creation of Pakistan in 1947. On this day, we pay tribute to our great leader Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah under whose stellar leadership Pakistan was created.
Today, 200 million Pakistan people are custodians of a democratic and progressive Pakistan. Due to policies of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, there is resounding international optimism about our economy, the tide has been turned against terrorism but challenges remain and through policy of ‘peaceful neighbourhood’, Pakistan continues to strive for regional peace, stability and prosperity.
Pakistan and Korea relations have grown from strength to strength in all fields especially in trade and investment.
Significantly, we are at the cusp of initiating the first round of FTA talks, very recently on 21st March, the two countries inked an a loan agreement of US$88 million for construction of state of the art 45 acres IT Park in Islamabad and last but not the least a consortium of Korean companies are investing in hydro power projects worth more than US$ 2 billion. People to people contacts are growing with small but important steps such as broadcasting of Korean drama “Jewel in the Palace” on Pakistan Television.
Towards the close, I would like to express my deep appreciation to our sponsors for their invaluable support in making tonight’s event a great success. I would particularly like to thank Lotte International, KOEN, KHNP and Pakistan National Bank.
I also wish to thank all the officers and officials of my embassy who every year work very hard to successfully organize Pakistan National Day.
Once again, I thank the Chief Guest, the Minister of Environment, and every one present for honouring us with their presence tonight. I wish you all a pleasant evening.
Shukriya. Kamsa- ham ni da. Thank You.
Excerpts from the congratulatory speech of Minister Choi Kyeung-kyu:
It is my honor and pleasure to join you on this celebration of the Pakistan National Day. On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Korea and its people, I would like to extend our deepest congratulations on the Pakistan National Day. The Father of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, believed that “With faith, discipline and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve.”
And indeed you have lived up to his calling. Pakistan is now the sixth most populous country in the world and one of the so-called “Next-Eleven” with the potential to be the world’s largest economies in the 21st Century. You have the world’s 7th largest pool of scientists and engineers, and already have produced two Nobel laureates.
Distinguished guests, as many of you know, this year marks the 34th anniversary of the Korea-Pakistan diplomatic ties. However, historians tell us that our cultural ties date back one thousand and six hundred years when a monk from Gandhara brought Buddhism to Baekje Dynasty. Through the years, we have been friends who help each other when one is in need. Pakistan reached out a helping hand
during the Korean War, and Korea extended our support when Pakistan was hit by the 2013 earthquake. Now, our friendship is stronger than ever with strong partnership
built both economically and culturally.
When we first build our diplomatic ties back in 1983, trade volume between our two countries was about 160 million dollars. Now our annual trade stands at more than 1 billion dollars. About twenty major Korean business enterprises have branch offices in Pakistan. From construction of roads and power plants to food industry, Korean businesses are increasing their investment in Pakistan.
We are now working to establish a free trade agreement with the first round of talks for FTA expected to take place in the second half of this year.
The trade agreement will, no doubt, bring our two countries closer in economic partnership. Culturally, exchanges between the two countries are at an all-time high.
Last year, over ten thousand Koreans have visited Pakistan with more than eight hundred now calling Pakistan their home.
In Korea, there are over twelve thousand Pakistanis and one thousand of them are working in high-tech research fields here in Korea. Korean TV drama, Daejanggeum, was on the air and gained popularity among Pakistani audiences.
I believe all these cultural and human exchange will help us better understand each other and further deepen our friendship.
As the Environment Minister, I work to promote environmental cooperation between the two countries. I have recently sent an invitation to Minister Mushahid Ulla Khan asking him to nominate Pakistani government officials for a two-year academic program here in Korea.
I hope these little steps can become the foundation for an active environmental cooperation between our two countries.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me, once again, to express my heartfelt congratulations on this National Day of Pakistan.
I wish Pakistan a sustainable development and prosperity, and everlasting friendship with Korea. Thank you. Shukria.