New Korean ambassador signals golden age of ties with Saudi Arabia

New South Korean Ambassador to Saudi Arabia JO Byung Wook. (AN photo by Yazied Alsamrany)
Updated 16 June 2018
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New Korean ambassador signals golden age of ties with Saudi Arabia

  • I am confident that we will see even more vibrant people-to-people exchanges in the near future, including at the highest levels: JO Byung Wook

RIYADH: New South Korean Ambassador to Saudi Arabia JO Byung Wook has heralded a new age of “win-win economic cooperation” between the two countries.

He said that he expected to witness a dynamic transformation in the Kingdom under Vision 2030 and hoped to continue the legacy of consolidation of the two countries’ relationship by his predecessors, ushering in a new era of bilateral economic ties.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, the new ambassador, who was previously deputy chief of mission at the Korean Embassy in the US, said that the relationship was special for Korea and the two sides were working to strengthen the mutually beneficial partnership.

“I am confident that we will see even more vibrant people-to-people exchanges in the near future, including at the highest levels, in particular, visits to Korea by King Salman as well as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Korean President Moon Jae-in’s visit to Riyadh that will help raise our relations to new heights,” the ambassador said.

“The two countries are now embarking on a journey of even closer friendship and cooperation for the next half-century and beyond,” he said.

“By working together and leveraging our respective strengths, I am confident that we will usher in a new golden age of win-win economic cooperation between our two countries,” he said.

He said that the bilateral relationship extended beyond the business realm.

“We are close partners in the UN and other multilateral forums on a diverse range of global issues, and I anticipate even more cultural exchanges between our two peoples in the near future,” he said.

As Vision 2030 spurs exciting economic opportunities in Saudi Arabia, the two countries are expanding cooperation in diverse sectors such as health care, renewable and nuclear energy, smart cities, e-government and SMEs, most of these areas directly relate to the goals of Vision 2030, including the Saudi government’s job-creation efforts, he said.

“We are also working to share expertise in the renewable energy sector, and cooperating in the construction of state-of-the-art smart cities and smart airports, all areas in which Korean firms possess world-class skills,” he said.

Asked about the potential for cooperation in nuclear energy, the envoy said: “We hope to participate in Saudi Arabia’s ambitious National Project for Atomic Energy.”


Al-Jubeir:  Saudi-led coalition ‘working with UN to end Yemen conflict’

The Houthis should engage in the political process and respond to the will of the international community to end the war and end the coup against the legitimate government, said Saudi Arabia's foreign minister. (AFP)
Updated 16 November 2018
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Al-Jubeir:  Saudi-led coalition ‘working with UN to end Yemen conflict’

  • Since day one, we said that the solution… is a political solution, says Saudi FM
  • Al-Jubeir: Saudi Arabia is the largest provider of humanitarian aid to Yemen, providing more than $13 billion since the start of the conflict

RIYADH: The Saudi-led coalition is working with UN envoy Martin Griffith to reach a political solution to the conflict in Yemen based on UN Security Council resolution 2216, the Gulf Initiative and the outcomes of Yemeni national dialogue, the Saudi foreign minister said on Thursday. 

“Since day one, we said that the solution… is a political solution, and the solution should lead to the restoration of legitimacy in Yemen,” said Adel Al-Jubeir.

“We support a peaceful solution in Yemen. We support the efforts of the UN envoy for the Yemeni cause,” he added.

“We are committed to providing all humanitarian support to our brothers there. We are also working on the post-war reconstruction of Yemen.” The Kingdom supports the envoy’s efforts to hold negotiations at the end of November, added Al-Jubeir.

Saudi Arabia is the largest provider of humanitarian aid to Yemen, providing more than $13 billion since the start of the conflict, he said.

In contrast, Houthi militias are imposing restrictions on Yemeni cities and villages, leading to starvation, he added. 

They are also seizing humanitarian aid and preventing Yemenis from getting cholera vaccinations, Al-Jubeir said. 

The Houthis fire ballistic missiles indiscriminately at Saudi Arabia, use children as fighters and plant mines across Yemen, he added. 

The Houthis should engage in the political process and respond to the will of the international community to end the war and end the coup against the legitimate government, he said.

Saudi Arabia did not want the conflict in Yemen; it was imposed on the Kingdom, Al-Jubeir added. 

Saudi Arabia worked with other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states to develop the Gulf Initiative. 

This led to a transition from former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to the internationally recognized government headed by current President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The Kingdom also worked to develop Yemeni national dialogue that led to a Yemeni vision regarding the country’s future.

A new Yemeni constitution was about to be drafted when the Houthis seized much of the country, including the capital. 

Yemen’s legitimate government requested support, and the Saudi-led coalition responded under Article 51 of the UN Charter.