Krishna to undertake three-day visit to Seoul

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New Delhi, June 16 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna will undertake a three-day visit to Seoul from the June 17 to 19 for the Sixth India-ROK Joint Commission Meeting.

The Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) is co-chaired by EAM and the Foreign and Trade Minister of Republic of Korea.

MEA's official spokesman Vishnu Prakash, accompanied by Gautam Bambawale, Joint Secretary (East Asia) who inter alia looks after matters pertaining to Republic of Korea, today briefed media persons about the highlights of Krishna's three-day visit here.

He informed as per the schedule of Krishna's three-day visit, the Union Minister would meet prominent members of the Indian community and Indian business leaders on Thursday (June 17).

On Friday (June 18), a Joint Commission meeting would be held.

Krishna will be calling on the President of ROK and giving a talk at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, which is an important think-tank, said Vishnu Prakash.

Krishna during his stay would meet the Defence Minister and hold extensive discussions on the whole range of issues of interest with his counterpart.

He would also be meeting with the Minister of Defence, the MEA spokesperson added.

The External Affairs Minister would be assisted by our Ambassador in Seoul; Advisor to EAM Mr. Raghavendra Shastry; Mr. Gautam Bambawale, Joint Secretary (East Asia); and senior officials from the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Commerce and others.

India enjoys excellent relations with the Republic of Korea and there are no outstanding issues between the two countries.

President Lee Myung-bak had paid a state visit to India in January when he was the Chief Guest at the Republic Day Celebrations.

"During the visit it was decided to elevate our relations to the level of strategic partnership. India and South Korea see our partnership as a factor for peace, development and stability in Asia," said MEA spokesperson Vishnu Prakash.

Stating the Joint Commission was established in 1996, Vishnu Prakash said: "We are going to have the sixth meeting of the JCM on the 18th. The JCM is the main forum for discussing the entire spectrum of our very vibrant and multifaceted ties, to take stock of the relationship and to give it further direction and momentum. Both sides are keen to enhance bilateral engagement and build on synergies."

"In recent years there has been all-round expansion in our ties, including in the trade and economic relations. We have a robust bilateral trade which crossed 15 billion dollars in 2008. During the visit of the President, a trade target of 30 billion dollars by 2014 was established which is easily achievable," said Vishnu Prakash.

"ROK (Republic of Korea) is also one of our key investment partners. In fact, investments from ROK to India are already the 7th largest. There are about 300 South Korean companies operating in India including the global giants like Hyundai, Daewoo, LG, Samsung, etc., and they are employing more than 40,000 workers," he stated.

"To give a further boost to our trade and economic relations, especially to garner greater access for our services in ROK, a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) was signed in August 2009 and was operationalised on the 1st of January this year. This is only the second CEPA that has been signed and the first with a OECD country," he informed.

"We have already identified a number of high priority areas where very good work is being done, including IT and knowledge-based industries, science and technology, high-technology, energy, automobiles and components, small and medium enterprises - again that is a sector which we are attaching a lot of importance to - defence, space, cultural ties, parliamentary exchanges, people-to-people exchanges," the MEA spokesman said.

"Defence cooperation between our armed forces is expanding. The Indian and the South Korean Coast guards signed a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in 2006, and cooperation between the Coast guards and Navies is also growing," he informed.(ANI)

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