South Korean president meets Saudi crown prince - GulfToday

South Korean president meets Saudi crown prince


Mohammed Bin Salman (right) receives Moon Jae-in at Riyadh international airport, Saudi Arabia. AP

South Korea's leader arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, where he was greeted in Riyadh by the kingdom's crown prince and an honor guard marching band.

It was the second stop on a Mideast tour by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife, who were greeted on the tarmac by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. All were masked and President Moon did not shake hands with the prince, in line with coronavirus social distancing practices.

It is the latest visit by a head of state to Saudi Arabia as a growing number of world leaders resume bilateral meetings and trips abroad following COVID-19 vaccine rollouts in many parts of the world.


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Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has largely taken over day-to-day rule of Saudi Arabia from his father, King Salman. It was unclear whether President Moon would also meet King Salman, who has only made limited public appearances since the outbreak of the virus globally in March 2020.

The crown prince's Vision 2030 reform agenda, which lays out a blueprint for diversifying the kingdom's economy away from reliance on oil and modernizing its society, is a driving force for many of Saudi Arabia's current economic initiatives. The prince is seeking investments for his mega projects, including in the construction, artificial intelligence, education and energy sectors.

South Korea underwent its own economic diversification in the 1970s and is a global powerhouse in technology and manufacturing.

Relations between South Korea and Saudi Arabia date back to the early 1960s, and have been underpinned since by South Korea's heavy reliance on oil and gas imports to power its energy-intensive economy, dominated by manufacturing industries from cars to petrochemicals.


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