[Sponsored Report] Saudi Arabia and Korea celebrate bilateral ties

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[Sponsored Report] Saudi Arabia and Korea celebrate bilateral ties


H.E. Ahmad Y. Al Barrak

The 82nd celebration of the National Day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the year 2012 comes while the bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Korea are witnessing a qualitative leap that has extended to all aspects of political, economic, cultural, educational and military fields. One of the most important developments was the meeting between His Excellency President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques His Majesty King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud in Riyadh in early February.

Fifty years have passed since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Korea. We have witnessed two important events that symbolize the intimate relationship between the friendly peoples. The first event was when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia invited the Republic of Korea as the guest of honor to the National Festival for Heritage and Culture 2012 or “Janadriyah Festival,” one of the most important cultural festivals in Saudi Arabia.

The second event came when the Republic of Korea chose the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the guest of honor for the Seoul International Book Fair in June. During the book fair, a variety of cultural and youth events as well as scientific and economic seminars were held on the sidelines.

The year 1962 witnessed the beginning of the establishment of Saudi-Korean diplomatic relations and, thus, the Embassy of Saudi Arabia, which opened in 1974 in Seoul. It was the first Arab Embassy to be established in Seoul. Bilateral relations in the early stages involved a number of achievements, with the participation of Korean experts and manpower in the kingdom to modernize infrastructure, mainly focusing on roads, public buildings, water desalination, power generation, information technology and other various industrial projects.

Those who review the economies of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Korea will not find themselves surprised at the solid Saudi-Korean partnership that has lasted 50 years. The countries’ ability to create a productive environment is also reflected in how they became members of Group of 20, a group of the richest countries in the world. The friendship between the two countries and the similarity of their policies has enabled both governments to draw a road map of their bilateral relations with specifications appropriate for both sides. It also has helped the more advanced stages of the distinguished partnership by enhancing the yearly value added of the relationship.

A number of agreements and committees - mainly, the Saudi-Korea Joint Committee - that connect both countries assure the building of a genuine partnership that allows the bilateral cooperation to be comprehensive and responsive to the interests of the peoples of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Korea.

The bilateral relations in the political domain have witnessed similarities in views regarding positions on global issues.

In the field of trade, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the fourth trading partner to the Republic of Korea, while Korea is Saudi’s fifth-largest one. There are nearly 129 joint projects, and trade volume between the two countries has increased over the last four years by 300 percent to $45 billion in 2011. The bilateral trade volume for this year is expected to reach $47 billion.

Bilateral cooperation in education is also witnessing development. About 300 Saudi students have been enrolled in prestigious Korean universities, and the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission in Seoul has been opened as the first Arab and Islamic cultural office accredited in the Republic of Korea. The bilateral cooperation in education has extended to exchange and cooperation among universities of both countries. Furthermore, the contribution of sports in promoting mutual relations through various visits and matches has been quite remarkable.

Lastly, I would like to acknowledge that such achievements in the march of bilateral relations would not have been accomplished without the kind and merciful assistance of Allah and the support and guidance from the rational leaders who pay special attention to sustaining and supporting the relationship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Korea.

Thanks to Allah, the pace of the relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Korea is moving smoothly as planned, heading toward steady and impeccable progress and growth in serenity and harmony.

* Congratulatory message by His Excellency Ahmad Y. Al Barrak, ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

by H.E. Ahmad Y. Al Barrak

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