Minister’s visit boosts Saudi-South Korean ties

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih holds talks with South Korean Trade Minister Paik Un-gyu in Riyadh on Monday. (SPA)
Updated 13 March 2018
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Minister’s visit boosts Saudi-South Korean ties

RIYADH: South Korean Trade Minister Paik Un-gyu held talks with a number of Saudi ministers on Monday to give impetus to the bilateral cooperation between the two countries in various field including nuclear energy.
Speaking to Arab News, Korean Ambassador Kwon Pyung-oh said the two countries have worked very closely in various fields. The Korean minister met Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qassabi and Minister of Economy and Planning Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri.
Notably, the two countries launched a ministerial-level Saudi-Korea Vision 2030 Committee to bolster bilateral cooperation, focusing on supporting business ventures between the two countries and enhancing networking with sustainable support for the economic reforms during the 18th Joint Committee Meeting (JCM) in Seoul last year.
This Vision 2030 Committee comprises five sub-groups headed by senior government representatives from both sides for cooperation in the key sectors that include energy and manufacturing, smart infrastructure and digitization, capacity building, health care and life sciences, and SME and investment.
The sub-groups aim to work closely with private corporations to identify joint projects that will promote the ambitious goals of Saudi Vision 2030.
“During the talks the two sides briefed on how they can work together to bring agreements and business opportunities to fruition through close and continuous cooperation,” the ambassador said, adding: “Through these talks I hope that South Korea can contribute to Saudi Arabia’s realization of its Vision 2030 as an optimal partner."
During the meeting with Al-Falih, who is also in charge of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), they discussed ways to step up cooperation in the nuclear industry, the envoy said.
The two countries are working closely on nuclear safety and security, and the Kingdom has sent 41 nuclear experts to South Korea for training and learning to design, construct and develop nuclear plants based on System-integrated Modular Advanced Reactor (SMART) technology.
The Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute and the KACARE signed a SMART pre-project engineering agreement in September 2015 that will remain in effect until November 2018.
Significantly, Saudi Arabia has received requests for information from five countries, South Korea, China, the US, France and Russia, to build two nuclear reactors.
The Kingdom is expected to shortlist two or three preferred bidders and plans to select a winner by the end of this year. The discussion on this lucrative deal is a second chance for South Korea to tap into the Middle East market following a $20 billion contract with the UAE in 2009.
During his meeting with Al-Qassabi, Paik discussed expanding the two countries’ trade and investment cooperation.
The ministers also discussed cooperation in some ambitious projects that Riyadh is pushing for, such as the establishment of an electronic trading system.


DiplomaticQuarter: Friendship to the fore as Koreans celebrate National Foundation Day

The event marks the legendary formation of the first Korean state of Gojoseon in 2333 B.C. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 18 October 2018
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DiplomaticQuarter: Friendship to the fore as Koreans celebrate National Foundation Day

  • The event, on Oct. 15 in the Park Hyatt Lazard’s ballroom, marks the legendary formation of the first Korean state of Gojoseon in 2333 B.C

RIYADH: Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Jeddah Lee Sang-kyoun stressed the importance of the relationship between South Korea and Saudi Arabia as he welcomed guests to a special celebration of Korea’s 4,351st National Foundation Day.

The event, on Oct. 15 in the Park Hyatt Lazard’s ballroom, marks the legendary formation of the first Korean state of Gojoseon in 2333 B.C.

The diplomat and his family warmly welcomed the guests, including Ambassador Jamal Balkhayour, the director general of the Makkah region branch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as they arrived at the venue, which was lavishly decorated with flowers and the Korean flag. 

In his opening speech, Lee said: “Korea and Saudi Arabia have shared strong companionship as ‘Rafiq,’ (friends) since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1962.” 

He also emphasized the common values shared by the two countries, and their indispensable partnership and cooperation in a number of sectors, beginning with construction and energy in the early 1970s and developing through the years to now include the likes of renewable and nuclear energy, culture and more.

“Notably, the two countries launched a ministerial-level committee, Saudi-Korea Vision 2030, to bolster bilateral cooperation, focusing on supporting business ventures between the two countries,” Lee added.

He said he hopes to see an expansion of cultural and artistic ties between the nations, while also strengthening “person-to-person” contact between young people and future generations.

“Such cultural and human exchange will be a meaningful step toward fostering the values shared by the two countries — working in collaboration for future success and common goals,” he said.

The consul general explained that strengthening such human bonds will encourage an understanding between people of a kind that can only happen through art, history, academia and scientific exchange, which is why the consulate is establishing a cultural center as a “signature window for cultural exchange.” 

The consulate will also set up a foundation for students to “foster the common grounds in their interests and hopes” through an exchange program for Korean and Saudi youths.

Lee added that 2018 has been an important year for South Korea, with the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in PyeongChang, the Inter-Korean Summit, and the Singapore Summit between North Korea and the US.

As the celebration continued, Korean residents were brimming with pride and excitement as they celebrated their National Foundation Day in the Kingdom, while meeting and mingling with friends from Saudi Arabia and other nations.