Korea, Sri Lanka agree to deepen economic cooperation
Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa agreed Tuesday to strengthen economic and trade relations between the two countries, the presidential office said.
On the sidelines of the summit, the two sides also signed three memoranda of understanding that call for bolstering cooperation in electricity and energy, development, and Sri Lanka's project to set up an electronic government, the office said.
Lee and Rajapaksa also discussed ways for South Korean companies to take part in major infrastructure construction projects that the South Asian nation is undertaking as part of its 10-year national development plan, it said.
The two leaders also agreed to expand cultural exchanges. In particular, South Korea agreed to push for measures to support Korean-language lessons in Sri Lanka after the language was included in a regular middle and high school curriculum in the South Asian nation, the office said.
The sides also agreed to seek a project to share South Korea's economic development experience. Noting that about 20,000 Sri Lankan workers contribute to South Korean industries, they also agreed to continue to cooperate closely on the workforce matter, the office said.
Rajapaksa arrived in Seoul Monday for a four-day state visit that also includes a luncheon with major Korean business lobbies, visits to a waste disposal facility and a nuclear power plant, and a forum of business leaders of the two countries.
He is the first Sri Lanka leader to visit South Korea in 16 years.
At the start of the summit, Lee said Sri Lanka's economy has grown steadily and its political situation stabilized due to Rajapaksa's leadership. Lee also thanked Sri Lanka for sending a pair of elephants two years ago as a token of friendship between the two countries.
"In particular, more than 20,000 Sri Lankan workers are contributing to the economy of Korea and they are beloved by South Korean businessmen," Lee said during the summit, referring to migrant workers from the South Asian nation.
Korea and Sri Lanka established diplomatic relations in 1977. (Yonhap)