Korea and Saudi Arabia Agree to Deepen Economic and Business Ties
Saudi Arabian Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman met with President Yoon Suk-yeol and top business conglomerates from Nov. 16-17. This high-profile meeting and earlier talks resulted in a total of 26 agreements collectively worth an estimated $30 billion (W40 trillion). Moreover, the meetings and talks have boosted Korea’s profile as a key strategic partner in realizing Saudi Arabia’s national growth plan, “Vision 2030.”
Upon starting the meeting, President Yoon and the crown prince agreed to fortify their bilateral relationship and establish a “strategic partnership committee” to engage in cooperative projects in a systematic manner.
President Yoon also expressed interest in the crown prince’s $500 billion (W673 trillion won) NEOM city project, which aims to create a futuristic smart city in Saudi Arabia’s northern Tabuk Province that will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy. The crown prince responded positively and cited the importance of cooperation in key sectors, such as energy, defense, infrastructure, and construction.
The NEOM city project, in particular, is of utmost importance to the two countries, as it is a major initiative that will reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil and provide a foundation for sustainable growth. It is also the core project of the government’s Vision 2030 growth plan. Korea is one of the eight partner countries that will participate in Vision 2030, alongside the United States, Japan, China, India, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.
Saudi Arabia has requested Korea’s cooperation in areas such as hydrogen energy production, carbon capture and storage (CCS), small modular reactor-based power generation, defense industry hardware and software, and construction and infrastructure.
Many of these requests were affirmed at the Korea-Saudi Investment Forum, which took place before the meeting between the two international leaders. At this forum, more than 20 Korean enterprises participated in signing a total of 26 agreements across key industries. The agreements are reportedly worth a total of $30 billion (W40 trillion). Participation in the NEOM city project was also confirmed at this forum, with domestic companies such as Samsung C&T signing a memorandum to build accommodation for the 10,000 employees at NEOM.
“Saudi Arabia is Korea’s largest trade partner in the Middle East and a key to our economic and energy security as a foreign construction partner,” President Yoon said at the meeting. “Now is the right time to take the relationship to a new level,” he added.
Seohyun Park Staff Reporter
1. What is the objective of the NEOM city project?
2. Why is the NEOM city project of utmost importance to the two countries?
3. What areas did Saudi Arabia request Korea’s cooperation in?
1. What is your impression of Saudi Arabia?
2. What do you think about the NEOM city project?
3. Why do you think Saudi Arabia requested Korea’s cooperation in the areas mentioned in the article?
4. What do you think about the outcome of this meeting?