South Korea sets sights on cooperative projects with Saudi Arabia

South Korea wants to realize more cooperative projects with Saudi Arabia, its deputy foreign minister told Arab News on Tuesday, as Korean diplomats make arrangements for a possible high-level visit to the Kingdom later this year.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol pledged stronger ties last November, when the former visited Seoul for the first time since June 2019.
Their meeting paved the way for multibillion-dollar bilateral cooperation in space technology, energy, infrastructure and the Kingdom’s giga-project NEOM, with Yoon saying after the talks that there were plans for more collaboration as it was time to “take the relationship to a new level through Saudi Vision 2030.”
South Korea’s deputy foreign minister, Choi Youngsam, told Arab News on the sidelines of the World Journalists Conference 2023 in Seoul: “Our cooperation and partnership with Saudi Arabia is very important.
“With Saudi Arabia, we have common interest in many economic areas, including the construction field and cutting-edge technology area,” Choi said.
“We do hope that we can realize more detailed cooperative projects between our two nations.”
Crown Prince Mohammed and Yoon had agreed in November to develop bilateral relations into a “future-oriented strategic partnership,” and establish a special committee to promote cooperative projects.
The November visit also coincided with the Korea-Saudi Investment Forum, which saw the signing of 26 agreements between Saudi companies and Korean counterparts across various projects, including clean energy and construction in NEOM — the Saudi smart city project overseen by the crown prince.
Yoon had previously said he hopes that South Korean companies will participate in Saudi mega projects such as NEOM, as such collaborations are ladened with hopes of invigorating the Korean economy.
A previous construction boom in the Middle East backed up South Korea’s rapid economic rise in the 1970s.
Korean diplomats are now making arrangements to follow up on the crown prince’s visit, Choi said.
“This year, there will be an important follow-up visit to Saudi Arabia. Even now we are making diplomatic consultations.”

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