Korean Ambassador to Saudi Arabia: the Visit of HRH Crown Prince Marks a Historical Turning Point in Bilateral Relations between the Two Countries
Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Saudi Arabia Jo Byung-wook has affirmed that the visit of His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense to the Republic of Korea will be a historical turning point for further steps forward in the bilateral relations between the Republic of Korea and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
He expressed his expectations that the forthcoming summit of His Royal Highness Crown Prince and Korean President Moon Jae-in will establish bilateral relations that are future-oriented and mutually beneficial. He noted the Kingdom's leading role in tackling various global financial, economic and social issues through its membership in the G-20.
He said in a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on this occasion that the Republic of Korea and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have maintained a close relationship and developed over more than half a century, noting that the Kingdom is the main provider of energy to the Korean economic system.
The Ambassador pointed out that back to the 1970s to 1980s, over a hundred thousand Koreans worked on infrastructure construction sites in Saudi Arabia. Close bonds were formed between our two countries during that time.
As for trading activities, he said that the two-way trade volume between the Republic of Korea and Saudi Arabia reached USD 30.2 billion in 2018, a 22.4% increase compared with that of 2017. This trade volume has been increasing steadily over the past years and this is the first time it had exceeded USD 30 billion since 2015.
As of 2018, Saudi Arabia is Korea’s 8th largest trading partner while Korea is the 5th of Saudi Arabia’s. Cars, automobile parts, electronic goods, steel and textiles are the major Korean exports to Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil exporter to Korea, accounting for about 30% of the total oil imports of the Republic of Korea.
In terms of direct investment volume, the Korean Ambassador said the total value of the Saudi investment in the Republic of Korea amounted to about USD 2 billion from 2006 to 2017, while the total value of the Korean investment in the Kingdom during the same period was about USD 4 billion. As the trade and investment volume is increasing, the fields of cooperation are diversifying as well, encompassing such fields as renewable energy, defense industry, healthcare, education, digitization and culture, he added
He revealed that during the visit of HRH Crown Prince to the Republic of Korea, S-Oil Corp., the third largest refiner in Korea, will hold the opening ceremony of the Residue Upgrading Complex and Olefin Downstream Complex . Saudi Aramco invested about four billion dollars to construct the complexes. Also, Hyundai Heavy Industries, the 3rd largest shipbuilding company in the world, collaborated with Aramco to set up a joint venture that will build the Gulf’s biggest shipyard in Ras Al-Khair, Saudi Arabia.
He affirmed that the Republic of Korea has been committed to utmost support for the realization of the Saudi Vision 2030 as a strategic partner of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Republic of Korea wishes to expand its cooperation in various projects under the Saudi Vision.
He highlighted the Kingdom's participation in the G-20, saying that The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as the one and only country in the Middle East and Arab region in the G20, has represented the region’s views, he said that he has confidence that Saudi Arabia will fully fulfill its roles as the chair country of the G20 next year. Also the Republic of Korea will cooperate with the Kingdom for the resounding success of the 2020 G20 Riyadh Summit.
He appreciated the Kingdom's leading role in addressing various global financial, economic and social issues in addition to its vital role in stability and prosperity of the world economy and world energy market