CPEC a great example to follow: South Korean Ambassador to Pakistan

Islamabad: South Korean Ambassador to Pakistan Suh Sangpyo has said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a great example to follow for the future partnerships between the countries.

The envoy said Korea-Pakistan Economic Corridor (KPEC) should be run on the pattern of CPEC to make the project a success. “CPEC shows the way how to move forward. KPEC can become a success if we follow how China and Pakistan have made it a success,” he told journalists at a dinner here.

He said Korea also wanted Pakistan to give similar incentives like the ones offered to investment in CPEC. “Korea and Pakistan needs to grow their bilateral cooperation going on from 1960s. Pakistan can prove to be the favourite destination for Korean tourists and investors as Pakistan has rich Buddhist religious and cultural heritage,” said the ambassador said.

He added: “Around 30 per cent people in South Korea are Buddhist and they love to visit the heritage sites in Pakistan. My dream is that PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) starts direct flights from Seoul to Islamabad. If this happens, Korean tourists and investors would come in droves to Pakistan.”

Ambassador Suh Sangpyo expressed keen interest in promoting bilateral and cultural ties with Pakistan. He said that there was a lot of potential to be explored for enhancing bilateral relations between Pakistan and South Korea, especially in technical and cultural fields.

The Ambassador said he was interested to establish a cultural and religious institution in Taxila and expressed optimism that a large number of followers of Budhism would love to come to Pakistan and visit, or even stay for a while at Taxila, the cradle of Budhism, which has a lot to offer.

“In the past the Pakistan Government was interested in establishing a research and meditation center in Taxila to facilitate the followers of Budhism from all over the world,” he said.

However, the envoy said, the project was shelved for some inexplicable reasons, most probably because of the wave of terrorism that was rife a few years back, creating uncertain law and order situation in the country and badly damaging tourism industry.

Ambassador Sangpyo said he was scheduled to inaugurate a ‘Technical Center’ in Islamabad in collaboration with the Pakistan government where the Prime Minister Imran Khan was expected to be the chief guest.

He said that there are some 14,000 Pakistanis working in South Korea including workers, businessmen and students. “I believe the Pakistani workers are very hardworking and successful in whichever field of work they are engaged in South Korea. I had a meeting with the Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis, Zulfi Bukhari, as well to discuss the potential of sending Pakistani workforce to Korea,” Ambassador Sangpyo said.

June Seo Park, the Counsellor (Deputy Chief of Mission), Lt. Col Kyungsoo Kim, the Defence Attache and Jeonghun Byeon, Political and Economic Officer, were also present at the reception.

Lt. Colonel Kyungsoo Kim said that he was part of the United Nations Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan back in 2005 and was based in Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu Kashmir when the devastating earthquake struck the region, leaving over 70,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands injured.

“I was working in the UN Compound in Muzaffarabad and was busy monitoring and reporting and relief and rehabilitation work after the earthquake,” recalled Lt. Col. Kyungsoo Kim.

“I and my family had fond memories of Pakistan from our last stay and I as well as my family is very happy to be here once again,” he added.