SEOUL  - President Asif Ali Zardari arrived here Monday on a three-day official visit to South Korea to hold talks with the Korean leadership in a bid to expand bilateral cooperation and trade ties.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Nawabzada Malik Ammad Khan, Water and Power Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Commerce Minister Amin Fahim, Pakistan Muslim League (Q) Chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and a delegation of businessmen accompanied the President.

President Zardari will hold talks with his South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-Bak on Tuesday. He will be given an official welcome on his arrival at the Cheong Wa dae - Office of the President.  The President, who has a hectic schedule during his three-day official stay in the South Korea's capital, will focus on ways to significantly enhance bilateral trade. The two countries will also ink an agreement and two memoranda of understanding in different areas.

These include an agreement on Grant Aid between Government of the Republic of Korea and the Government of Pakistan (EAD), and two MoUs between Korea Water Resource Corporation (Korea) and Pakistan's Water and Power Development Authority, and for cooperation in the field of railway between the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs (MLTM) of the Republic of Korea and the Ministry of Railways, Pakistan.

President Zardari, who has meetings scheduled with heads of over a dozen top South Korean companies, will urge the business community to invest in Pakistan, particularly in its energy sector and other sectors of economy. This is President Zardari's first official visit to South Korea after assuming office. Earlier, former PM Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani visited South Korea to attend the Nuclear Summit held in Seoul in March this year. In the past two decades, Korea has become the 12th largest trading partner of Pakistan with a two-way trade volume of about $1.5 billion in 2011.

Korean companies such as Lotte, Posco, Samsung and LG Electronics are well known in Pakistan, while Daewoo's Islamabad-Lahore Motorway (M-2) has been a landmark project.

The Korean companies are also working on several other projects, including the Lowari tunnel, expansion of Karachi port, besides having stakes in power generation projects of around 3,000


The Republic of Korea has also provided assistance for Pakistan's economic and social sector development and as a member of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP), pledged a $200 million economic assistance package for Pakistan at Tokyo Ministerial Donor Conference in April 2009.