Sri Lankan President arrives in Seoul for state visit

Maithripala Sirisena arrived at the Incheon International Airport in Seoul on Tuesday commencing a three-day state visit to South Korea on the invitation of President Moon Jae-in.

He was received by the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cho Hyun, Chief of National Security, Chung Eyi-yong and other high dignitaries.

An official welcoming ceremony is set for Wednesday and President Sirisena and President Moon are scheduled to hold summit discussions at the Cheong Wa Dae or the Blue House, the official residence of President Moon tomorrow (November 29).

After the meeting, the two leaders are scheduled to sign agreements and attend a state banquet.

Agreements on economic cooperation, economic development cooperation fund (EDCF) and cultural cooperation, as well as MoUs on investment cooperation and the Employment Permit System (EPS) are to be signed between the two Governments during the visit. There are about 30,000 Sri Lankan workers employed in Korea.

President Sirisena’s delegation to Seoul incudes Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tilak Marapana and Minister Daya Gamage, who arrived in Seoul yesterday, Ministers Dr. Sarath Amunugama and Ranjith Siyambalapitiya who arrived with the President. Ministers Malik Samarawickrema and Thalatha Athukorala are expected to join the delegation later.

The visit takes place in conjunction with the 40th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and the Republic of Korea.

President Sirisena is the third foreign head of state to make a state visit to South Korea since President Moon came into office in May. South Korea hopes the meeting with the Sri Lankan leader will move forward its drive to expand all-round cooperation with South Asian nations.

Presidential officials expect Sirisena’s trip will contribute to Moon’s push to expand the country’s diplomatic horizon further south and forge stronger ties with Southeast and Southwest Asian nations, Yonhap News Agency reported.

“We expect President Sirisena’s visit to South Korea to help realize the country’s New South Policy by helping to expand the area of our foreign policy to Southwest Asia, following President Moon’s trip to Southeast Asia,” Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Soo-hyun told a press briefing last week.

President Sirisena will visit Jogyesa Temple, an ancient Korean Buddhist shrine this afternoon.

He will, pay respects at the Memorial Tower, the national monument for the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the motherland.

President Sirisena is also scheduled to attend a business forum and discuss with four major Korean Business associations, all potential major investors.


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