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South Korea mulls visa on arrival for Indians



New Delhi: South Korea is mulling visa on arrival for Indians after its nationals were given a fast-track electronic travel permit by New Delhi earlier this year. South Koreans account for a fifth of e-visa recipients for India.

South Korea’s Ambassador to India Joon-gyu Lee said Seoul was closely looking at a scheme for Indians similar to that India extends to their nationals. “While doing so we will do our best to improve the visa issuing process to facilitate and speed it up,” he said.

India’s decision on e-visa for South Koreans has seen an exponential rise in visitors from that country. “I believe that the visa-on-arrival scheme provided for our citizens is contributing a lot in increasing the number of Korean tourists into India,” the envoy said.

The Indian government extends its electronic travel authorization (ETA) scheme to 76 countries. Official data shows that in January, inflow of tourists from the Republic of Korea constituted 18.26 per cent of the total arrivals using the facility.

Its nationals were its second largest users after the US, Russia, Ukraine and Australia.

Data with the Indian embassy in Seoul, shows that more than 100,000 Koreans visited India in 2013 to mainly visit the Taj Mahal in Agra, Jaipur and various Buddhist sites. Agra, Jaipur and Delhi form what is called the golden triangle of Indian tourism, accounting for 40 per cent of tourists.

“The visa-on-arrival has definitely eased the travelling for South Korean nationals. Of course, a similar scheme for Indians will create an impact in the inflow of tourists to Korea,” said Byungsun Lee, director with the Korea Tourism Office in India..

Lately, there has been a 20 per cent increase in Indian visitors to South Korea. As per official data, 147,736 Indians went to the East Asian nation in 2014, up from 123,235 visitors in the year before. (IANS)

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Kim Jong-un Wants to ‘Write New History’ With S.Korea

The officials are the most senior South Koreans to meet Kim since he came to power in 2011 after the death of his father

Kim Jong-un

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said that he wants to “vigorously advance” relations with South Korea, telling a visiting delegation from Seoul he hoped to “write a new history of national reunification”, Pyongyang state-media reported on Tuesday.

Kim made the comments during a two-day trip by the delegation led by Chung Eui-yong, the head of the South’s national security officials, reports the Guardian.

The officials are the most senior South Koreans to meet Kim since he came to power in 2011 after the death of his father.

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Kim Jong Un
People watch a TV screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s speech, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Jan. 3, 2018. VOA

“He … made an exchange of in-depth views on the issues for easing the acute military tensions on the Korean Peninsula and activating the versatile dialogue, contact, cooperation and exchange,” Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

“He repeatedly clarified that it is our consistent and principled stand and his firm will to vigorously advance the north-south relations and write a new history of national reunification by the concerted efforts of our nation to be proud of in the world.”

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It was not clear what a “satisfactory agreement” meant and despite a standing invitation for South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang, no date has been set.

The South Korean delegation’s visit follows two months of easing tensions with North Korea and is the first of its kind since President Moon’s liberal government was sworn in last year.

Kim Jong Un
The officials delivered a letter from Moon and Kim issued orders for “practical steps” to be taken, KCNA said without giving details. Pixabay


Kim and his wife also personally hosted a dinner for the group on Monday night at the Workers’ party headquarters, the first time South Korean officials have visited the building, according to Seoul’s presidential office.

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Kim’s younger sister and close advisor Kim Yo-jong also attended the meal, which lasted more than four hours.

A photo of the North Korean leader posing with five members of the South Korean delegation was splashed across the front page of the Rodong Shinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers’ Party.

Meanwhile, a South Korean government spokesperson said the visit that ends on Tuesday had not disappointed, while a press conference by the high-level delegation is expected upon its arrival in the Seoul at 6 p.m., reports Efe news. (IANS)

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