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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman holds talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in

SEOUL: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks Wednesday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to strengthen bilateral ties between the two governments.

The crown prince, who also serves as deputy prime minister and minister of defense of the Kingdom, was received by South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon and Saudi Ambassador to Seoul Riyadh Al-Mubaraki. The Saudi leader and Moon inspected an honor guard at the presidential Blue House in central Seoul before delegations from both countries conducted the summit.

During the summit talks, President Moon expressed hope the bilateral relationship would take a leap forward on the occasion of the crown prince’s visit to South Korea, the first by an heir to the throne of the world’s largest oil exporter since 1998.

“Saudi Arabia is the largest oil supplier for us, and it’s the biggest customer for South Korean construction firms. It is also our No. 1 trade partner in the Middle East,” Moon said, referring to Saudi’s Vision 2030 project as a key area of mutual cooperation.

“As a partner of the Vision 2030 project, South Korea will expand cooperation with Saudi Arabia to the areas of information and communications technology, smart infrastructure, defense, health and medicine and others beyond the traditional cooperation on energy and construction,” Moon said.

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Meanwhile, the Crown Prince pledged that Saudi Arabia would invest more in South Korea was looking to expand economic cooperation in energy, automotive, tourism and health.

“South Korea has made tremendous success in Saudi Arabia. I hope South Korea will do the same to further improve bilateral relationships,” the Crown Prince was quoted by a Blue House official as saying. “People of both countries will thrive more through cooperation on defense and economy.”

After the summit, the crown prince had a luncheon with South Korea’s top business leaders, including Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, Hyundai Group’s executive vice president, Chung Eui-sun and Hyundai Heavy Industries President Sam-hyun Ka to discuss opportunities for mutual investment, especially regarding the King Salman Marine Industries complex.
The crown prince also met with the chairman of LG Group Koo Kwang-mo to discuss the growth of the Saudi market and partnership opportunities in various electrical appliances.
Mohammed bin Salman then met with Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group, where they exchanged views on prospects for cooperation and investment in the field of petrochemicals, clean energy, the environment and battery technology.
The Kingdom’s investment authority also held a convention to sign 15 cooperation agreements, with an estimated value of $8.3 billion, with their South Korean counterparts in different fields covering finance, petrochemicals and renewable energy, according to the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.

The National Intellectual Property Strategy Program was also signed between Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property and the Korea Intellectual Property Office, in the presence of the crown prince and the South Korean president.
The Executive Chairman of Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property Abdulaziz Al-Swailem said that the program aims to prepare a national intellectual property strategy that includes a master plan and a five-year implementation plan. 
The master plan includes a comprehensive analysis of the IP environment in the Kingdom and its vision and objectives for the next five years and the implementation plan includes detailed work schemes, targets and key performance indicators.

Hyundai Motor and Aramco signed an MoU to cooperate on hydrogen energy.

Seoul’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, meanwhile, said it has agreed with its Saudi Arabian counterpart to join hands in the automobile segment for the development of environment-friendly cars.

“Both governments will cooperate in developing technologies to utilize hydrogen as an alternative to traditional fossil fuels as well, the ministry said in a statement.

After South Korea, the crown prince is scheduled to travel to Japan to head the Saudi Arabian delegation at the G20 Summit in Osaka on June 28-29.

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