South Korean President Yoon has outlined a vision where South Korea and Saudi Arabia could collaborate closely in digital technologies, clean energy, and other emerging fields. The vision of strengthened cooperation was further affirmed during President Yoon’s visit to Saudi Arabia from October 21 to 24.
The visit aims to strengthen the relations between South Korea and Saudi Arabia at all levels, reflecting the shared desire of both governments to enhance their already distinguished ties.
The South Korea-Saudi Arabia Future Technology Partnership forum was held at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Riyadh. It aimed to focus on digitization, clean energy, biotechnology, and space for both nations to advance in these areas.
Moreover, 108 companies from both nations engaged in discussions during the Korea-Saudi Trade Consultation. This gathering aimed to match advanced and emerging industrial companies from Korea with Saudi clients interested in entering the Saudi market.
President Yoon showed appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s achievements in smart transformation, mainly its focus on 5G, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and advanced digital technologies. He illustrated the potential for cooperative ventures, especially within the private sectors of both nations. Clean and renewable energy were highlighted as key domains of interest, further encouraging the cooperation between South Korea and Saudi Arabia.
The South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy confirmed signing 40 Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and six contracts in Riyadh on October 22.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia acknowledges South Korea’s global role and admires its major economic transformations, which have propelled it into the ranks of the world’s strongest and most advanced economies. The two nations have a shared distinction of being G20 members to contribute to the international stage.
During the summit, President Yoon commended Saudi Arabia’s SEHA Virtual Hospital project, emphasizing the Kingdom’s ambitions to reduce healthcare costs and enhance healthcare quality through cooperative efforts with South Korea. He additionally expressed keenness to broaden collaboration into space exploration, lunar missions, satellite development, and space technology.
The clean energy sector, in particular, was addressed through joint oil stockpiling and participation in joint bids encompassing seven items. Of note is the Letter of Intent (LOI) signed by KEPCO, POSCO Holdings, and Lotte Chemical in partnership with Saudi Aramco to produce blue ammonia, a project estimated at $15.5 billion.
This initiative supports the “Korea-Saudi Hydrogen Oasis Cooperation Initiative” to extend mutual collaboration on clean hydrogen. It aims to respond to the imperatives of carbon neutrality and future energy sourcing.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia, which has experienced attacks from Yemen’s Houthi rebels involving ballistic missiles and drones, has a demand for interceptor missiles. It’s reported that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed interest in South Korea’s KM-SAM (Cheongung) missile defense system during his visit to Korea in the preceding year.
During his visit, President Yoon participated in the investment forum between Saudi Arabia and South Korea and attended a technology forum with scientists and researchers from both nations. His engagements also encompassed a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of construction-related cooperation between the two countries and participation in the annual Future Investment Initiative forum.
Beyond bilateral cooperation in the economic area, the summit provided a ground for the two leaders to exchange views on international politics, economics, and the evolving dynamics associated with the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Both South Korea and Saudi Arabia are exploring establishing working groups for different value chains from production to utilization.