Sri Lanka signs 3 MOUs with Korea

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Sri Lanka signs 3 MOUs with Korea

President Lee Myung-bak and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa agreed yesterday 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, energy and development and Sri Lanka’s project to set up an electronic government, the office said.

Lee and Rajapaksa also discussed ways for 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, Korea agreed to push for measures to support Korean-language lessons in Sri Lanka after the language was included in regular middle and high school curriculum in the South Asian nation, the office said.

The sides also agreed to seek a project to share Korea’s economic development experience. Noting that about 20,000 Sri Lankan workers contribute to Korean industries, they also agreed to continue to cooperate closely on the workforce matter, the office said. Korea will provide Sri Lanka with $200 million in development loans that can be used for future infrastructure building by the South Asian country, the finance ministry said yesterday.

Under the memoranda of understanding, the money to come from Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) will be used in various agricultural and public work projects as well as education and health-related programs, it said.

The loans can also strengthen bilateral economic ties with the country that buys Korean cars, knitted goods and synthetic rubber. Two-way trade between the two countries reached $426 million last year, with Korea posting a $262 million surplus.

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