Diplomatic relations between Nepal and the Republic of Korea (RoK) was established on 15 May 1974. The Republic of Korea opened its Embassy in Kathmandu in 1974. Nepal established its Embassy in Seoul in 2007. The relations between the two countries are based on goodwill, friendship and mutual cooperation. Frequent exchanges of visits at various levels have further strengthened these relations. Two countries celebrated the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2014. Nepal has appointed its Honorary Consul in Busan city.
Nepal and the RoK have concluded an agreement for the establishment of Consultation Mechanism between the Foreign Ministries of both countries in October 2001. Four meetings of the mechanism have concluded so far. The fourth meeting was held in Seoul on 23 July 2018. The mechanism provides an opportunity for both sides to discuss on various dimensions of the bilateral relations and to share views on further enhancing bilateral cooperation in upcoming days.
Exchange of Visits
High-level visits from Nepal to the Republic of Korea include the visit of Mr. Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, then Minister for Foreign Affairs, from May 12 to 16, 2014 to attend the program organized by the Embassy of Nepal in Seoul marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the bilateral relations between Nepal and the RoK, and visit of Foreign Secretary Mr. Shanker Das Bairagi from 11 to 16 June 2016 to hold bilateral meeting, the visit of Hon. Tapta Bahadur Bista, then State Minister for Information and Communication to participate in the meeting of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World 2017 held in Busan from 25-28 September 2017 and the visit of Hon. Gokul Prasad Baskota, Minister for Communication and Information Technology to participate in the ICT Ministerial Meeting 2018 held in Seoul on 13 September 2018.
Similarly, high-level visits from the Republic of Korea to Nepal include the visit of Mr. Yu Myung-hwan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade on 22 June 2009, visit of Mr. Kyung-soo Lee, Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs of the Republic of Korea from 25 to 27 November 2014 to participate in the 18th SAARC Summit and the visit of Mr. Chung Eui-hwa, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea from 24 to 26 April 2016 leading a 22-member delegation including four members of the Parliament.
Agreements and Mechanisms
Nepal and the RoK have concluded Cultural Agreement on 30 March 2005 envisaging to promote and develop the cooperation between the two countries in the fields of culture, art, education, youths, sports and tourism.
Nepal and the RoK have signed MoU on Employment Permit System (EPS) on 23 July 2007 for recruiting Nepali Workers to work in Korea. The current MoU on EPS was concluded on 20 September 2018, which is valid for 2 years.
Nepal and the RoK have also signed a Framework Agreement for Grant Aid on October 30, 2014.
Nepal – RoK Economic/ Technical Cooperation
The Republic of Korea has been extending its development cooperation to Nepal since 1976. The RoK provides two types of grants to Nepal through KOICA: 1) Grant Aid, which includes equipment and project aid; and 2) Technical Cooperation, which includes development studies, trainings, volunteers, health and rural development and ICT sector. KOICA dispatches middle level technical personnel to work as volunteers in Nepal. Korea provides bilateral soft loan or loan under Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) to Nepal through Export-Import Bank of Korea.
Trade and Investment:
Total export from Nepal to the Republic of Korea in FY 2017/18 was approximately USD 1.6 million and import was approx. USD 97.3 million.
South Korea is one of the top five investors in Nepal. Many Korean investors have shown keen interest to invest in Nepal mainly in hydro power, construction and service sectors. The joint ventures are also taking place in the fields of electronics, hotel industry, chemical industry, medicinal goods, and mineral water etc.
Employment Permit System
Nepal and RoK have concluded an agreement to recruit Nepali workers under Employment Permit System (EPS) in 2007. Nepal’s participation in EPS system has been mutually rewarding to both countries. The Nepali youths are contributing to the economies of both countries by remitting their earning to Nepal and providing their services to the Korean economy. From 2008 to 2017, the EPS test had been conducted eight times in Nepal. In 2017, 7,800 Nepali people have left for South Korea under EPS. The Government of the RoK has been increasing the quota for Nepali workers under the EPS system.
Tourism and Culture
Nepal has been one of the most favored destinations for the Korean tourists. In the year 2018, the no. of Korean tourists visiting Nepal remained 37,142. The Mt. Everest and Lumbini- the birthplace of Buddha are major attractions for the Korean tourists. Nepal’s natural sanctity and religious holy places also attract Korean tourists. Both Nepal and Korea have commonalities of cultural values based on the ideals of Buddhism. The Embassy of Nepal in Seoul took Eternal Peace Flame from Lumbini and installed it permanently on the premises of Dosunsa Monastery on March 21, 2013. The two countries have concluded a Cultural Agreement on 30 March 2005. Since then, both countries have been organizing cultural events in each other’s capital regularly.
Cooperation at regional and multilateral levels
The Republic of Korea has become an observer to SAARC in 2006. Since then, it has been actively undertaking programs to share its development experience with SAARC member countries. Both countries have been cooperating with each other in many international forums including the United Nations on the issues of common concern.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
As of February 2019