Following many successful commemorative events to mark
the celebration of 40 years of diplomatic relations between
Korea & Sri Lanka last year, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in
Korea celebrated its gorgeous 70th Anniversary of Independence
this year with dignitaries including assemblymen, diplomatic
missions and last but not least Sri Lanka community in Korea
and Korean businessmen operating their business in Sri Lanka
through a reception, held in downtown hotel on Feb. 7th
evening before the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.
Sri Lanka is one of the earliest democracies in the post-colonial world and in Asia, having gained independence on
4th February 1948. It is also a country that has consistently
upheld parliamentary democracy without interruption,
despite challenges, said Sri Lanka Amb. Manisha Gunasekera
through her welcome remarks.
Touching upon last year's achievements, she said: "The
celebration of 40 years of diplomatic relations between our
two countries, combined with the state visit of His Excellency
Maithripala Sirisena, the President of Sri Lanka, to the Republic
of Korea last November, has led to renewed collaboration
between our two countries on the political, economic and cultural spheres."
Wishing Korea success in the soon-to-commence Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Gunasekera
sent following her message to the NDNnews & Seoulcity
magazine: "PyeongChang Winter Olympics also offers a
wonderful opportunity for the Republic of Korea to showcase
its spirit of friendship and unity with the people of all nations
of the world in a spirt of amity and cooperation. I therefore
take this opportunity to wish the Government and the people
of Korea a successful Winter Olympics in PeongChang. I also
extend my best wishes to all participants and spectators of
the PyeongChang Winter Olympics from all over the world."
(please refer to the Feb. issue of the Seoulcity magazine!)
In her New Year message sent to the NDNnews(www.ndnnews.co.kr) & Seoulcity magazine as well, Sri
Lanka Amb. Manisha Gunasekera said: "Parallel to the
celebration of the 70th anniversary of independence of Sri
Lanka on 4 February 2018, the Sri Lanka Embassy has lined
up several events in Seoul to showcase Sri Lanka's many
attractions, including a Food Festival, a photographic exhibition
and a promotion of Ceylon tea. We hope the people of Seoul
will enjoy these wonderful events." (please refer to the Jan.
issue of the Seoulcity magazine!)
During her Embassy's commemorating function, Gunasekera
devoted considerable parts of her speech to publicizing Sri
Lanka's economic advantages such as the logistics hub in
the Indian Ocean, connectivity with Korea going back 15
centuries or more etc.
First off, she said that today, our island nation, centrally
located in the fast growing South Asian region, is making
steady progress on the economic front. The Agreement on
Economic Cooperation signed between Sri Lanka and Korea
during the state visit, combined with the MOU signed between
the two investment promotion agencies of the two countries,
introduce conducive mechanisms to further expand bilateral
investment, trade and tourism, Gunasekera pointed out.
Last year, global foreign direct investment (FDI) into Sri
Lanka doubled from the previous year, exemplifying the country’s attractive investment climate, according to the Embassy
of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s FTAs with India, Pakistan and Singapore, the FTA under
negotiation with China, combined with Sri Lanka’s ‘Look East’ policy, demonstrate the country’s interest in integrating in global markets and value chains,
leveraging its advantageous location as a hub in the Indian
ocean, Sri Lanka Amb. added.
Turing her address into the connectivity with Korea, she
said that Korea’s ODA plays a complementary role to Korean investment into
Sri Lanka. In this regard, the recent increase in Korea’s concessionary loan facility under EDCF cooperation to Sri
Lanka by US$ 200 million, is salutary, as is our cooperation
with KOICA, Similarly, labour relations form a key pillar of
bilateral partnership. Around 27,000 Sri Lankan youth are
employed in Korea under the Employment Permit System (EPS),
contributing to the economies of both countries.
Last but not least, Amb. Gunasekera said that we welcome
President Moon Jae-in’s vision of a ‘New Southern policy’ which encompasses South
Asia, and could mark a new and exciting chapter in our