President Moon Jae-in and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia met in Seoul on Wednesday to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation in a wide range of areas.
The crown prince arrived in Seoul earlier in the day and was met by Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon before moving on to Cheong Wa Dae for a welcoming ceremony followed by a meeting with Moon and his top aides.
At the meeting, Moon stressed the importance of Korea-Saudi relations, highlighting economic projects between the two countries and Seoul’s involvement in Saudi’s Vision 2030 program.
The Vision 2030 program is aimed at reducing the country’s economic dependence on oil and developing its public service sectors.
“Korea is a strategic partner in Vision 2030, and the two countries are expanding the horizon of cooperation beyond construction and energy to ICT, smart infrastructure and other new industries,” Moon said, going on to list defense, health and welfare and other areas in which the two sides are seeking closer cooperation.
Saying that Vision 2030 and his administration’s drive to build an inclusive society share many elements, Moon added that the program will be an opportunity to raise bilateral relations to a new level.
In response, the Saudi crown prince described ties with Seoul as a “relationship of brotherhood.”
Describing South Korea as a strategic partner in a wide range of areas, including politics, security and defense, the prince went on to say that there remain many areas in which the two sides can increase cooperation.
Following the meeting, the two countries signed memorandums of understanding on increasing cooperation between the governments and private entities.
Under the agreements between governments, South Korea and Saudi Arabia will seek closer cooperation in the automotive industry and in areas related to the hydrogen economy.
Under the memorandums, the two sides will seek cooperation in eco-friendly vehicle technologies, automotive parts development and promoting investment in Saudi Arabia.
Regarding the hydrogen economy, the two countries agreed to cooperate in developing technologies for production, storage and transportation of hydrogen, and in projects concerning hydrogen-powered vehicles.
At the signing ceremony, South Korean and Saudi corporations, including Hyundai Motor Group, Hyundai Heavy Industries, S-Oil and Saudi Aramco signed memorandums and contracts on projects with a combined value of $8.3 billion.
The signing ceremony was followed by a lunch meeting with government officials and chiefs of South Korea’s four largest conglomerates — Hyundai Motor Group, LG Group, Samsung Group and SK Group.