Korean Naval Vessel “Kwanggaeto the Great” Visits Colombo Port, Strengthening Bilateral Ties

Korean naval vessel “Kwanggaeto the Great” visits Colombo Port, strengthening bilateral ties

The South Korean Navy ship, ROKS “Kwanggaeto the Great,” called at the Colombo Port last week. The visit marked a significant milestone in bilateral relations between South Korea and Sri Lanka, as well as in the context of regional cooperation. It highlights the remarkable role of Lanka Shipping & Logistics in handling foreign naval ships, making Colombo Port a strategic hub for defence logistics.

This visit underlines the growing importance of the Indo-Pacific region and maritime cooperation. The visit was an excellent opportunity for both nations to strengthen their bilateral ties and share insights on defence and maritime safety in the region.

The arrival of ROKS Kwanggaeto the Great at Colombo Port holds a special place in the history of naval visits. This visit marked the first Korean naval vessel’s call to Colombo Port in six years, demonstrating the commitment to foster strong diplomatic relations and cooperation between the two nations.

The port call was attended by various dignitaries, including Korean Ambassador Miyon Lee, Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Nimal Siripala De Silva, State Minister of Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasuriya, Chief of Defence Staff General Shavendra Silva, and Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera, among others. The presence of these high-ranking officials signified the importance of this visit in enhancing diplomatic engagement between South Korea and Sri Lanka. Captain Kim Hyoung Churl, the commanding officer of ROKS Kwanggaeto the Great, expressed his delight at this port visit, emphasising its importance in strengthening ties between South Korea and Sri Lanka. He noted that the visit provided an excellent opportunity for the crew to engage in exchange activities and showcase the international status of the Korean Navy.

During the visit, Ambassador Miyon Lee introduced the Cheong Hae Unit’s mission and its significant role in upholding international efforts to secure maritime safety and counter-terrorism in the Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Oman. This highlights South Korea’s commitment to regional security and its efforts in combating maritime threats.

Ambassador Lee also emphasised the strategic importance of Colombo Port in the region as the “Gateway to South Asia.” The port has emerged as a maritime hub that brings together nations in their pursuit of new trade routes and investments, further underlining the potential for economic and security cooperation in the region.

The visit also shed light on Korea’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, which seeks to engage and cooperate in the region for both trade and investments and defence cooperation with South Asian partners. This strategy is aligned with the broader goals of regional stability and security.

Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva expressed his optimism regarding the future of South Korea-Sri Lanka relations. He hoped that the port call by ROKS Kwanggaeto the Great was just the beginning of more regular visits. Such visits would promote mutual cooperation between the two nations, further strengthening their bilateral relations.

Amidst this remarkable visit, it’s essential to highlight the pivotal role played by Lanka Shipping & Logistics in handling foreign naval ships. With an impressive track record of handling up to 40 foreign naval ships from 2018 to the present date, Lanka Shipping & Logistics stands as a cornerstone of defence logistics in the region. Their proficiency in ensuring the smooth operations of naval visits underscores the significance of Colombo Port as a strategic hub for defence logistics.

The visit of ROKS Kwanggaeto the Great to Colombo Port is not just a routine port call but a symbol of growing cooperation between South Korea and Sri Lanka. It is a testament to the region’s increasing significance in the global arena, both in terms of trade and security. As bilateral relations continue to strengthen, Colombo Port’s pivotal role as a strategic hub for defence logistics, facilitated by Lanka Shipping & Logistics, will undoubtedly play a central role in future regional cooperation efforts. This visit serves as a stepping stone towards a more secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. 

(Source: Daily Mirror)