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Acting president calls for expanded economic cooperation with Saudi Arabia

All Headlines 19:24 March 07, 2017

SEOUL, March 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn on Tuesday called on a visiting Saudi Arabian minister to work together to expand economic cooperation that has been focused mostly on the construction sector.

During his talks with Adel Fakeih, the minister of economy and planning, Hwang also took note of "smooth bilateral cooperation" in implementing the Middle East country's "Vision 2030," a long-term blueprint to reduce its reliance on oil and diversify its industries.

"(Hwang) asked for Saudi Arabia's interest and cooperation to ensure that the two sides can smoothly develop economic cooperation in new areas such as nuclear energy, defense, health care and medicine," Hwang's office said in a press release.

"Minister Fakeih said he would take care of all cooperation areas to make sure that the two sides can successfully carry out cooperative projects," it added.

During the talks, Fakeih described South Korea as a "core" partner for the Vision 2030 project, noting progress in joint efforts to flesh out their cooperation scheme to realize the vision.

Since Hwang agreed to support the vision during his visit to Saudi Arabia in May, the two sides have been discussing their cooperation through a joint consultation committee.

The acting president also used the meeting to appreciate Saudi Arabia's support for Seoul's efforts to denuclearize North Korea. Fakeih, in response, reaffirmed his government's willingness to back the South's policy towards its provocative neighbor.

Last year, two-way trade volume reached US$29.04 billion with South Korea exporting cars, electronic goods, steel and other items to Saudi Arabia and importing oil and other petrochemical products from it.

South Korea's Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn (R) shakes hands with Adel Fakeih, Saudi Arabia's minister of economy and planning, before their talks at Hwang's office in Seoul on March 7, 2017, in this photo provided by the Prime Minister's Office. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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