Saudi Arabian Crown Prince and President Yoon Announce Collaborative Future
Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Korea on Nov. 16 to hold meetings with President Yoon Suk-yeol and Korea’s business leaders. The meetings resulted in approximately $30 billion (W40.6 trillion) in collaborative business deals between Korea and Saudi Arabia. Prince Mohammed and President Yoon announced that the two countries would work towards a “future-oriented strategic partnership” after closing their meeting on Nov. 17. Both leaders committed to the establishment of a special “strategic partnership committee” that would oversee the collaborative projects that the two nations will undertake. The meeting was held at the presidential residence in the Hannam neighborhood of Seoul and also marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Korean companies and Saudi Arabia announced the signing of 26 memorandums of understanding for various projects, including work related to Saudi Arabia’s NEOM city project. The planned smart city will be built in Tabuk Province, Saudi Arabia, and will operate entirely on renewable energy. NEOM is one way that the Saudi Arabian government is trying to move away from its dependence on oil to embrace a greener future. The project, which is estimated to cost $500 billion (W677.9 trillion), was first proposed by Prince Mohammed in 2017 and aims to house 1 million residents by 2030. Moreover, two Korean companies have signed construction deals in relation to the project, which are valued at $1.15 billion (W1.55 trillion).
Other Korean companies, including S-Oil and Hyundai Rotem, also signed memorandums of understanding with Saudi Arabia. Although memorandums of understanding cannot be legally enforced, the agreements signal that the two parties are interested in working together with one another.
It is the first time that Prince Mohammed has visited Korea in over three years, with his last visit being in 2019. During the meeting with the crown prince, President Yoon said, “Saudi Arabia is Korea’s largest trading partner in the Middle East and a partner in overseas construction, as well as a core partner in our economic and energy security.” He added that the emergence of the prince’s “Vision 2030” project, which aims to reduce the country’s dependence on oil and redevelop its economy, signals the right time to “raise bilateral ties to a new level.” Prince Mohammed said, “I hope to bolster our cooperation with Korea to realize the Saudi Vision 2030 based on the mutual trust built in this process.”
Sterling Ah San Copy Editor
1. What happened on Nov. 16? What did the meeting between the two leaders result in?
2. What did Korean companies and Saudi Arabia announce the signing of?
3. What is NEOM? Describe the project in detail.
4. What did President Yoon say about the “Vision 2030” project?
1. Do you think that the deal made with Saudi Arabia is significant? Explain.
2. Are signing memorandums of understanding helpful to the parties who sign them? Explain.
3. What do you think is a smart city? Give an example of a smart city you know.
4. What else can Saudi Arabia do as part of "Vision 2030" (national growth plan),?