Cultural ties will add new facet to Saudi-South Korean relations

South Korean Ambassador Jo Byung-Wook
Updated 01 September 2018
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Cultural ties will add new facet to Saudi-South Korean relations

  • The caravan will promote cultural cooperation and increase mutual goodwill between Korea and Saudi Arabia
  • South Korea also plans to hold the first-ever Korean history and culture exhibition in Riyadh later this year

RIYADH: Enhancing Saudi-South Korean cultural ties will add “an important facet” to the “very wide-ranging” bilateral relationship, South Korean Ambassador Jo Byung-Wook told Arab News on Saturday. 

The Korea-Arab Friendship Caravan will be held in the Saudi capital on Oct. 14. More than 20 Korean artists will perform at the cultural event in the Riyadh-based King Fahd Cultural Center (KFCC), said Jo. It is being organized by the Seoul-based Korea-Arab Society (KAS), a nonprofit foundation.

“Designed to promote mutual understanding and communication between Korea and the Arab world, particularly with Saudi Arabia, the Korea-Arab Friendship Caravan will offer Korean cultural programs that combine tradition and modernity to effectively introduce Korean culture and art to the Arab region,” the ambassador said. 

“The caravan will promote cultural cooperation and increase mutual goodwill between Korea and the Kingdom on the one hand, and between Korea and the Arab world on the other.”

South Korea “plans to hold the first-ever Korean history and culture exhibition in Riyadh later this year,” Jo added. 

The exhibition will run for about two months, and will be organized in collaboration with Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), the envoy said. 

“Cultural exchange allows us to have a deeper understanding of each other,” he added, citing the Asian tour of the Roads of Arabia Exhibition, which was organized by the SCTH in South Korea last year.

“The Korean Embassy (in the Kingdom) will also hold a mega National Day celebration with great fanfare by the end of October this year,” Jo said. 

The celebration will feature cultural shows, and will be followed by a jointly organized health care forum later this year, he added.

“There’s a need to focus on strong complementarities and mutual interests that remain largely untapped,” Jo said. 

Extensive cultural exchanges can lay “the groundwork and create networks for the long-term development of ever-deeper levels of understanding, friendship and cooperation,” he added.


Saudi Energy Minister calls for collective effort to secure shipping lanes

Updated 10 min 24 sec ago
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Saudi Energy Minister calls for collective effort to secure shipping lanes

  • Khalid Al-Falih: Saudi Arabia will do best to ensure the safety of shipping lanes
  • He expects OPEC members and other oil producers to meet soon to discuss an extension to oil supply cuts

TOKYO: Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said Monday that countries need to cooperate on keeping shipping lanes open for oil and other energy supplies after last week’s tanker attacks in the Middle East to ensure stable supplies.

While he did not outline any concrete steps after the attacks that damaged two tankers on June 13, Falih said the Kingdom would do everything necessary to ensure safe passage of energy from Saudi Arabia and its allies in the region.

“We’ll protect our own infrastructure, our own territories and we are doing that despite the attempts to target some of our facilities,” Falih told reporters in Tokyo.

“But sea lanes of global trade need to be protected collectively by other powers as well. We believe that’s happening, but we need to make sure the rest of the world pays attention,” he said after a Japan-Saudi investment conference.

His comments came as Iran, which has been blamed by the US and Saudi Arabia for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, continued to escalate its rhetoric. Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, claimed Iran was responsible for security in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, and called on US forces to leave the region, as tensions rose following last week's attacks on oil tankers

The attacks have shaken the oil market and rattled consumer countries that rely heavily on importing oil from the Arabian Gulf, much of which has to be transported through the Straits of Hormuz - the narrow shipping lane, which Iran has repeatedly threatened to disrupt.

Falih expects the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers including Russia to meet the week after the G20 summit to be held in Osaka on June 28-29, to discuss an extension of a supply output cut agreement.

OPEC and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, have a deal to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from Jan. 1. The pact ends this month and the group meets in coming weeks to decide their next move.

Falih said that OPEC was moving was toward a consensus on extending the agreement.

He said earlier this month that OPEC was close to agreeing to extend a pact on cutting oil supplies beyond June, although more talks were still needed with non-OPEC countries.

When asked if Russia is going to agree to continue the cuts, Falih said “absolutely.”

“We are maintaining the proper levels of supply that we have been having to bring inventory levels to where they belong. I hope that will continue in the second half with the assurances I have received from all the OPEC+ countries,” he said.

There was full commitment to put in place “a long term framework between the OPEC+ coalition to ensure that we work together” from next year, he said.

Oil demand growth has held up despite trade disputes roiling global markets, Falih said, adding he expects worldwide demand to be above 100 million barrels per day this year.

“We are not seeing a slowdown from either China, the US, India or other developed economies,” Falih said.

“The impact has been more on the sentiment side and fear, rather than actual impact,” he said.