The celebration of the National Day of the for the year 2011 comes while the bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Korea are witnessing a qualitative leap forward. Both friendly countries will celebrate the 50th anniversary of establishing the diplomatic relations in 2012.
Thanks to the wisdom and the foresight of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has succeeded in absorbing and meeting the demands and aspirations of its people. Such achievements have been carried out through a package of economic and social policies declared by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, May God bless him. These policies were based upon the Kingdom’s strive towards the continued development of the country-the renaissance march. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the great leader of reforms and change, has decided to place the Kingdom to the rank of world’s top countries.
The bilateral relationship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Korea have been characterized by stability, consistency and significant development as a result of the bilateral summit talks held between the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud and the late former President Roh Moo-hyun in the Saudi capital Riyadh during March 24-26, 2007. The bilateral trade volume has increased remarkably by 300% during the past five years. The number of Korean companies working in the Kingdom has exceeded to around one hundred.
Both countries have keen interests to expand mutual cooperation in various fields which have lead to the enhanced cooperation in the areas of culture and education. The Kingdom will be the fifth Guest of Honor for the Seoul International Exhibition to be held next year. The Republic of Korea is also invited to Saudi’s Janadriyah Festivals - the largest cultural Festival in the Arab world- scheduled in 2012 as Guest of Honor. Further-more, since the launch of a scholarship program initiated by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and mutual visits of senior officials from both countries-among them are the recent visit of Saudi Minister of Higher Education H.E. Dr. Khalid Al-Anqari in October 2010-the number of Saudi students under the scholarship program to study in Korea have doubled. Such trend, without doubts, enhances rapprochement of cultures and peoples of the two countries.
The Republic of Korea is also one of Saudi’s most important partners in term of global economic relations. Korea is a well developed country which has an amazing development experience. Around 100 joint ventures including industrial projects are currently being carried out in both countries while a number of other projects are waiting ahead. On the international level, there is wide room for coordination and joint efforts on various issues of common interests between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Korea, both being members of the G20.
It should also be noted that the investment environment in the Kingdom has topped the list of Arabic countries, according to the recent World Bank resources, ranking the Kingdom the world’s 23rd in attracting foreign investments. In this regard, I would like to invite Korean businessmen and companies to participate in the process of Kingdom’s development by joining hands with their Saudi counterparts in joint venture projects, and sustain the solid trade and economic relations between the two countries.
Both Saudi Arabia and Korea have a rich cultural legacy with unique histories and deep rooted customs and traditions. Both sides have great interests in the cultural cooperation. Exchanges of cultural and folklore delegations are made during cultural weeks, joint festivals and exhibitions, on a regular basis.
Lastly, I pray for Almighty God to grant success to the leader of the renaissance march, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, may God protect them, for their tireless efforts to promote the Kingdom to the highest position and to make the Kingdom’s people more happier. I may also pray for God every success in carrying out my missions and enhancing the distinguished relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the friendly Republic of Korea.