As’salaam-o-Alaikum Pakistan!On behalf of theKorean government and the Korean people, I would like to greet all Pakistanis and convey my heartfelt wishes for a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan on the auspicious celebration of Pakistan’s Independence Day.

Even though Korea and Pakistan are far away geographically, there are many similarities between our countries. We both give importance to hospitality and respect for elders. The Korean language and Urdu share the same sentence structure and many common words like “Abu-ji”, “Amma” and “Ammi”. Both our countries got independence at around the same time; Pakistan was born on 14th August 1947 while the Korean government was established on 15th August 1948.

Diplomatic relations between our countries were established in 1983. However, the relations between our people date back to the fourth century when Maranantha, a famous Buddhist monk, studied Buddhism inTaxila and then introduced Buddhism to Korea. He hailed from Chota Lahore in Swabi district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Another famous Korean monk, Heycho, visited this area in the 8th century. He wrote a travelogue named “Memoir of the Pilgrimage to the Five Kingdoms of the Subcontinent” which includes present day Kashmir, Gilgit and Peshawar.

During the Korean War from 1950 to 1953 Pakistan provided humanitarian assistance to Korea. So our association is historic and provides solid ground to build a strong and durable friendship for the future.

Korea built the iconic M2 Motorway between Islamabad and Lahore in the 1990s.Today, Korea is increasingly investing in Pakistan’s infrastructure and development projects. These include hydro-power projects which will provide much needed electricity to Pakistan, tunnels and roads which will help link Pakistan to Central Asia.

Korea has always stood by Pakistan like a true friend. Korea provided economic assistance for flood victims and IDPs. We also are planning to provide Pakistan with a 500 million dollar ‘Economic Development Cooperation Fund’ from 2015 to 2017.

Thanks to the visionary leaders and the hard work of the Korean people, Korea is a major economic powerin the world. Korean per capita income in 1960 wasless than $80. Now Korean per capita income ismore than twenty-eight thousand dollars! Korea’s trade volume has been more than a trillion dollars since 2010. This is called the ‘Miracle of the Han River’.

It is my wish to see a similar‘Miracle of the Indus River’ in Pakistan. God has given Pakistan the second highest mountainin the world as well as a deep sealike the Indian Ocean. Pakistan has a strategic location, abundant natural resources, population and land. Pakistan also has talented and skilled labor. All these reasons convince me Pakistan can achieve its own Miracle of the Indus River.

Pakistan-Korea DostiZindabad!