South Korean president calls for stronger ties with Saudi Arabia on energy and defense

South Korea’s president on Monday reaffirmed his country’s commitment to strengthening ties with Saudi Arabia in energy, defense and infrastructure following a meeting with the country’s crown prince last week.

In a letter to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, President Yun Sook-yol expressed the government’s support for the country’s economic reform plan, titled Vision 2030. Yonhap News Agency report.

“We will work closely together to realize Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030,” Yoon told Deputy Presidential Press Secretary Lee Jae Myung.

With Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia aims to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on oil. Yoon said the crown prince’s visit to South Korea last week was an “important milestone” in deepening bilateral ties.

The two leaders met in Seoul on November 17 after Crown Prince Mohammed arrived from Indonesia’s G20 summit.

They discussed cooperation on mega-projects, especially the participation of Korean companies in Saudi Arabia’s NEOM smart city project, the defense industry, and energy sources.

The two sides agreed to deepen bilateral relations into a “future-oriented strategic partnership” and establish a “strategic partnership committee” to realize the goals. statement Announced by Yoon Office.

“Saudi Arabia [South Korea’s] We are the largest trading partner in the Middle East, a partner in overseas construction, and a core partner in economics and energy security,” said Yun.

South Korea’s Ministry of Industry previously said companies such as Samsung C&T and Posco Holdings have signed more than 20 contracts with the Saudi side, including in energy cooperation, railways, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and games.

Saudi-based Asharq TV quoted the kingdom’s investment minister as saying the deal, signed on November 17, was worth $30 billion. He also cited a Saudi venture capital firm saying it had agreed to set up seven specialized funds.

US grants immunity in Jamal Khashoggi murder

On November 17, the Biden administration proposed granting the Saudi crown prince immunity from the lawsuit brought against him over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

and Court submissionthe administration noted that the crown prince was appointed prime minister in September, making him “the head of the incumbent government of a foreign country”.

Epoch Times photo
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomes US President Joe Biden to Al Salam Palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, July 15, 2022. (Saudi Royal Palace via Bandar Aljaloud/AP)

The filing said the Biden administration “has no view on the merits of the current lawsuit and reiterates its clear condemnation of the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi” in making its waiver decision.

Ultimately, a judge will have the final say on whether to grant immunity to the crown prince.

The filing is the result of a lawsuit filed by Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Sengiz, and the human rights group Khashoggi founded, Democracy for the Arab World Now.

Khashoggi is an outspoken critic of the Saudi government and has been repeatedly accused by human rights groups and UN agencies of human rights abuses and laws that limit political and religious expression.

Biden’s decision marks a complete U-turn from his previous stance when the journalist died inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

Khashoggi’s remains have never been found, but US intelligence has linked the murder to the crown prince.

Katabella Roberts and Reuters contributed to this report.

Aldogra Fredry


Aldgra Fredly is a Malaysia-based freelance writer covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.