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Prime Minister Narendra Modi in South Korea for two days; to be honoured with Seoul Peace Prize 

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 20, 2019, 11.10 PM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be South Korea from 21st to 22nd. Before the visit, PM in a statement said, "the growing depth and variety in our relationship has been accentuated by the harmony between our Act East Policy and ROK’s New Southern Policy."

Adding, "My visit to the Republic of Korea is reflective of the importance we both attach to our relationship"

During the visit, other than bilateral meet with President Moon Jae In at the blue house, the official residence of the South Korean president, PM will address India-Korea Business Symposium, launch India-Korea Startup Hub, unveil a bust of Mahatma Gandhi at the Seoul Campus of the Yonsei University, pay respects at the National Cemetery in Seoul and interact with the Indian community in the country.

Briefing the media ahead of the visit, secretary east in the Ministry of External Affairs Vijay Thakur Singh said, "We expect a substantive agenda for discussion which would cover areas of bilateral cooperation, regional and global issues of mutual interest." 

PM to be honoured with Seoul Peace Prize  

He will be honoured with the Seoul Peace Prize during the visit. Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation last year announced the decision to award Prime Minister Modi with the Seoul Peace Prize for 2018 in recognition of his dedication to international cooperation, global growth and human development. Previous recipients of the award include German Chancellor Angela Merkel & United Nation chiefs like Ban Ki-moon, Kofi Annan. 4 recipients of Seoul Peace Prize later got Noble Peace Prize.

The Cultural Connect 

PM Modi will be gifting a sapling of  Holy Bodhi Tree to the people of Kimhae. Kimhae city has a historic connect with India since Princess Suriratna of Ayodhya had gone there in 48 CE and married Korean King Suro and started a dynasty. Princess Suriratna is known as Heo Hwang-ok in South Korea. The First Lady of South Korea, Kim Jung-Sook visited Ayodhya in November of 2018 to participate in the ground-breaking ceremony of Queen Suriratna Memorial in the city. 

North Korean in the focus 

The visit comes even as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is all set to met US President Donald Trump for the 2nd US-North Korea summit in Vietnam on 27th and 28th February. They met last year in Singapore for the 1st summit. 

Asked about if North Korea be discussed, Secretary East said, "We have a very multifaceted relationship with Korea. We discuss issues of mutual interest, regional and global issues. The conversation which is going on with the DPRK (North Korea) is an important conversation. India welcomes discussions and dialogues which will help in reducing tensions and paving the way for peace and reconciliation in the Korean Peninsula." 

Without naming Pakistan secretary said, we "hope that the resolution of the Korean Peninsula will take into account and address our concerns about proliferation linkages in India’s neighbourhood." 

It is widely believed that Pakistani physicist AQ Khan had given sensitive information on uranium enrichment to North Korea in exchange of missile technology with approval from former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto. 

PM Modi had visited South Korea in May of 2015. South Korean president Moon Jae In visit India in July 2018. During his visit, he along with PM Modi inaugurated the new manufacturing facility of South Korean major Samsung in Noida which is the largest mobile phone manufacturing plant of the company anywhere in the world. After President Moon's election victory in 2017, PM Modi was the 4th international leader to congratulate him.