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S. Korea, Saudi Arabia agree to widen relations to IT, education

RIYADH, March 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz held a summit here Saturday evening (local time) and agreed to expand bilateral relations and cooperation to information technology, education and culture, Roh's office said.

Roh arrived in this Saudi Arabian capital on Saturday afternoon for a three-day official visit aimed at boosting South Korea's economic relations with the leading Middle East country.


"Roh and Abdullah agreed to widen two-way cooperation in the fields of energy, construction, plant, education, IT and culture and develop bilateral relations into a comprehensive and mutually beneficial partnership," the office said in a press release.

"The two leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation in securing a stable supply of oil for South Korea and increasing the country's construction orders in Saudi Arabia. They also highly evaluated each other's efforts for peace and stability in the Middle East."
Roh became the first South Korean head of state to visit Saudi Arabia in 27 years. In May 1980, then South Korean President Choi Kyu-hah visited Riyadh, but hurriedly returned home without a summit with Saudi Arabia's king due to the outbreak of an emergency situation at home.

"Roh and Abdullah agreed to help expand South Korean companies' participation in Saudi Arabia's state-initiated construction and IT projects. Roh asked Abdullah to visit South Korea in the near future and the Saudi leader accepted his invitation."
Saudi Arabia, the fourth-largest supplier of oil to South Korea, is the single largest construction market for Korean builders, with cumulative orders totaling US$58 billion, according to government figures.

Following the summit, the two countries' cabinet ministers signed memorandums of understanding on dual taxation prevention and cooperation in the higher education and IT sectors.




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