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The President Holds Summit with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud

By   /   March 4, 2015  /   No Comments

The President Holds Summit with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud

President Park Geun-hye and King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia held a summit following a luncheon today at Erga Palace in Riyadh. They discussed a variety of measures to advance the partnership between the two countries for mutual benefits across all fronts.
The President began by expressing her condolences again on the passing of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in January and, at the same time, extending congratulations on the enthronement of King Salman. She also expressed the hope that Saudi Arabia would make further progress under the leadership of the newly enthroned king and that the country would make great contributions to peace in the Middle East and the rest of the world.
President Park noted the importance of Saudi Arabia, the number one oil supplier to Korea and source of overseas contracts as well as the largest trading partner for the country in the Middle East. Likening bilateral relations in the future to “rafik,” meaning a companion or friend in Arabic, President Park proposed that the two nations work together to achieve their respective national development goals based on creativity and innovation, considering the similarities between Vision 2024, the long-term strategy of Saudi Arabia, and Korea’s Three-year Plan for Economic Innovation.
She went on to highlight the importance of trust not only in interpersonal relations but also in relations between countries. She expressed the hope that Korea-Saudi Arabia ties would continue to grow on the basis of mutual trust and that exchanges of senior-level officials would become more frequent. King Salman responded by saying that the genuine meaning of “rafik” was a friend chosen to accompany one on a long journey through the desert and proposed that Korea and Saudi Arabia work together to establish a trust-based partnership sharing mutual benefits.
Noting that bilateral relations had so far developed with the main focus on trade in crude oil and construction, President Park stressed the necessity of diversifying cooperation to include a variety of other areas, including nuclear power plants, information and communication technology, new and renewable energy, healthcare and medical services, investment and the security industry. She continued to say that she looked forward to the relationship between the two countries becoming more diversified and vibrant with her visit this time as a catalyst.
King Salman expressed complete agreement on the need to further diversify the bilateral relationship, which has so far been mainly based on oil trade, adding that he looked forward to the faithful implementation of additional MOUs in various other areas. Noting that progress in other countries was easily propagated to the people of his country thanks to the development of broadcasting and communications technology, he continued to say that his people had high expectations for Korea`s development. In this connection, he said he hoped for cooperation conducive to maximizing mutual benefits. In response, President Park said her government would redouble efforts to identify such areas for cooperation.
President Park said that an MOU on nuclear cooperation to build a SMART partnership and jointly foster human resources and scientific research, which would be signed today, would become a significant outcome. She continued that she expected that Saudi Arabia would find that its decision to cooperate with Korea concerning SMART reactors, small- and medium-sized nuclear reactors designed by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, would be a “smart” choice considering their technical advancement and utility. She gave a high evaluation to the agreement to join forces to commercialize small- and medium-sized nuclear reactors for the first time in the world. President Park also noted that the two nations could find global markets together in the process of pursuing joint entry into third countries after first building a SMART reactor in Saudi Arabia in accordance with the MOU. The President also said that the two nations had great potential for economic cooperation, given their pursuit of economies focused on innovation. In this connection, the President went on to say that the MOU on creative economy cooperation, which would be signed this time, carried added significance.
Noting that Saudi Aramco`s investment in the expansion project in Ulsan made through S-Oil, South Korea’s third-largest oil refiner, constituted an example of successful cooperation between the two nations, President Park asked the King to take interest in the difficulties Korean construction companies were facing in Saudi Arabia, including delays in construction and resultant increases in costs, and provide necessary support.
King Salman responded by saying Saudi Arabia was not hesitant about giving help to or receiving help from other countries and would give its support in matters of mutual benefit. With regard to the President’s request, he said the Saudi Government would provide Korean companies with all manner of assistance while in the country so as to prevent relations from faltering.
The two leaders agreed on the need for cooperation not only in the economic sector but also in efforts to address key international issues, particularly with regard to areas like the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East. President Park, noting Saudi Arabia’s important role in maintaining stability in the Middle East, its involvement in the G20 as the sole member state from the region and its significance as the birthplace of Islam, proposed that cooperation be expanded from the bilateral level to the regional level, including the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and beyond to the international arena. King Salman said he hoped Korea and Saudi Arabia would be able to contribute through cooperation to regional stability and security, including through close exchanges of high-level officials. President Park next mentioned the 7th World Water Forum to be held in Korea in April, requesting the participation and cooperation of the Saudi Government. In reply, King Salman highlighted Saudi Arabia’s keen interest in water issues and said the Government would provide support and be an active participant in the Forum.
After the summit, the two leaders looked on as various agreements were signed, including a maritime transport agreement, the SMART joint partnership and human resources development MOU and an MOU on a framework for cooperation for a creative economy.
Today’s summit took place at a time marked by the highest level of cooperation between the two countries in the more than half a century since diplomatic ties were established in 1962. It served as an important opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of both sides to developing a partnership for mutual prosperity based on a relationship of sustainable trust between the President and King Salman, who was crowned the seventh King of Saudi Arabia on January 23. The two leaders reaffirmed that the two countries were indispensable partners in cooperation for growth. President Park, noting that Korea now had a large number of Halal-certified foods, invited the King to visit the country at a convenient time.

– See more at: http://english1.president.go.kr/activity/briefing.php?srh%5Bview_mode%5D=detail&srh%5Bseq%5D=9658#sthash.pAQQbtSU.dpuf

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