Saudi Arabia-South Korea ties witness progress

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The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Seoul held a reception marking the country’s 88th National Day, praising its relations with South Korea, which have been broadened in diverse areas. (Saudi Embassy's social media account)
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The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Seoul held a reception marking the country’s 88th National Day, praising its relations with South Korea, which have been broadened in diverse areas. (Saudi Embassy's social media account)
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The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Seoul held a reception marking the country’s 88th National Day, praising its relations with South Korea, which have been broadened in diverse areas. (Saudi Embassy's social media account)
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The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Seoul held a reception marking the country’s 88th National Day, praising its relations with South Korea, which have been broadened in diverse areas. (Saudi Embassy's social media account)
Updated 20 September 2018
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Saudi Arabia-South Korea ties witness progress

  • About 400 guests, including envoys in Seoul, politicians and businessmen, attended the ceremony.
  • Among the high-profile South Korean guests were Minister Park Neung-hoo of the Health and Welfare Ministry; Sohn Hak-kyu, leader of the minority opposition Bareunmirae Party; and Rep. Sul Hoon, a lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Party.

SEOUL: To mark the country’s 88th National Day the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Seoul held a reception in the Shilla Hotel, in Seoul.
Riyad Almubaraky, the Saudi ambassador, said that ties with South Korea represented one of the most successful models of Saudi Arabia’s bilateral relations with nations around the globe.
“Since the inception of bilateral relations in 1962, the two countries have witnessed a qualitative leap and great development in many fields, including politics, economy, education, culture, and health and many other fields,” he said.
About 400 guests, including envoys in Seoul, politicians and businessmen, attended the ceremony. Among the high-profile South Korean guests were Minister Park Neung-hoo of the Health and Welfare Ministry; Sohn Hak-kyu, leader of the minority opposition Bareunmirae Party; and Rep. Sul Hoon, a lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Party.
Park stressed the progress of mutual cooperation in health care.
“Korea offers residency programs for Saudi physicians and dentists. Currently, a total of 73 Saudi physicians and dentists have been enrolled in these training programs,” he said.
In addition, Riyadh and Seoul are working closely on nuclear safety and security, as the Kingdom has sent 41 nuclear experts to South Korea for training in the development nuclear plants based on System-integrated Modular Advanced Reactor (SMART) technology.
The SMART project is aimed at the design and development of compact nuclear reactors so that the Kingdom can diversify energy sources in line with Vision 2030. South Korea is bidding to build two nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia.
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.
South Korea plans to hold the first Korean history and culture exhibition in Riyadh later this year.


Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

Updated 42 min 40 sec ago
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Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

  • “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,”SCTH source tells Arab News
  • The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has no plans to allow the sale or public consumption of alcohol, a senior government source has told Arab News.

The official with access to relevant decision-makers categorically denied “unsubstantiated” media reports in some international and regional news outlets.

“If you read the fake news, you will notice it is all based on hearsay and tweets by accounts known to have a questionable agenda when talking about the Kingdom,” he said.

“As the country moves forward with its reform plans, we expect much speculation and attempts by critics to hold us back. And while people are allowed to speculate and criticize, their speculation should not be treated as the truth.”

A second source at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) also denied such reports. “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,” he told Arab News. “I have not heard of any plans to allow alcohol in major cities, free zones or new projects.”

The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants. Any plans for the sale or consumption of alcohol would have to go through the commission for implementation. 

Saudi Arabia has witnessed substantial social reforms over the past three years, such as the curbing of the previously unchecked power of the religious police, reopening cinemas and allowing women to drive.

There has also been a major shift on previously prohibited public entertainment and gender mixing. International artists including Mariah Carey, Yanni, Andrea Bocelli, Enrique Iglesias and Black Eyed Peas have all performed.

Tourism projects have included pop-up versions of international restaurants such as Signor Sassi, Nusr-Et and Nobu. None has served alcohol.

“Officials have repeatedly said all changes were and will always be in line with Islamic teachings and traditions,” the senior source told Arab News.