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KOREA (SOUTH)-PAKISTAN

KOREA (SOUTH)-PAKISTAN RELATIONS The economic decision-makers in Pakistan were (and probably still are) only vaguely familiar with the circumstances that led to the economic success of South Korea In fact, even in the late 1970s, they were much more enamored of the northern half of the country It was only during the administration of Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif that Pakistan began to take serious note of the Republic of (South) Korea This interest was not directed at understanding the set of circumstances that had produced the Korean miracle, however Instead, it was aimed at attracting Korean private capital for investment in PakistanThe Korean response to Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif’s overtures was encouraging In February 1992, Daewoo of Korea signed an agreement with the government of Pakistan to construct a US$2billion motorway connecting Lahore with Islamabad During the same month, a high-powered delegation visited Pakistan to explore the possibility of setting up a Korean industrial estate on a site near Karachi The Koreans requested that Pakistan set aside a site measuring 500 acres near Port Qasim for investment by industries from their country This effort was stymied by the change in governments in July 1993 when Mian Nawaz Sharif resigned, first to be replaced by the caretaker administration of Prime Minister Moeen Qureshi and then by the administration headed by Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto



Bhutto had no interest in continuing with the projects started by Sharif She incurred the displeasure of the Koreans by putting the completion of the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway on the back burner She made an effort in 1995 to improve relations with the Korean private sector by sending Asif Ali Zardari, her husband, to Korea to hold discussions with the large industrial houses, but was rebuffed She paid a state visit to Korea in 1996, but it was only with the return of Mian Nawaz Sharif as prime minister in February of 1997 that Pakistan’s relations began to warm with Korea However, the East Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 and the stress it caused to the Korean private sector put on hold these plans for investment

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