The South Korean government has completed preparations for Saudi Arabia to resume its procedure for a nuclear power project, a Seoul minister said on Wednesday…reports Asian Lite News
Moon Sung-wook, South Korea’s minister of trade, industry and energy, told reporters that “no visible progress” has been made in Saudi Arabia’s nuclear power project since the kingdom selected five countries — South Korea, the US, France, Russia and China — as preferred bidders in 2018, Yonhap news agency reported.
The industry minister, who is accompanying President Moon Jae-in on his weeklong trip to the Middle East, said South Korea has emphasised its technology on nuclear plants “in preparation for the Saudi nuclear power project to be proceeded at any time.”
President Moon Jae-in held talks with Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday.
During the talks, Moon expressed his confidence that South Korea will become an “optimal partner” for Saudi Arabia’s plans to build nuclear power plants, according to Moon’s spokesperson Park Kyung-mee.
Oil-rich Saudi Arabia has planned to build two nuclear reactors by 2030.
If won, it will be the second chance for South Korea to tap into the Middle East market following a $20 billion contract with the UAE in 2009.
Earlier, South Korean President held talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday and agreed to work together in areas related to the hydrogen economy.
After holding the talks at the Al-Yamamah palace in Riyadh, the two nations signed preliminary deals to jointly develop green hydrogen, which is produced from renewable energy sources, especially solar and wind, and jointly build a hydrogen ecosystem, Yonhap news agency reported, citing a statement by Moon’s office.
Under the deals, South Korea can secure a supply of carbon-neutral hydrogen and ammonia from Saudi Arabia. In return, Seoul can help Riyadh operate hydrogen-powered cars and hydrogen fueling stations, according to the statement.
During the talks, Moon took note of Saudi Arabia’s “Vision 2030” policy of reducing the Arab nation’s dependence on oil and developing its public service sector.
Moon also affirmed that the two nations have expanded cooperation beyond construction, infrastructure and energy into fields such as hydrogen, defense, intellectual property and medicine.
Saudi Arabia is South Korea’s largest trading partner in the Middle East. The kingdom is also the biggest supplier of crude oil to South Korea.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman voiced support for Moon’s efforts to bring peace on the Korean Peninsula, according to the statement.
Moon was in Dubai on Monday, when an attack claimed by Houthi rebels triggered a blast at a construction site in Abu Dhabi that killed three people. Yemen’s Houthi rebels also recently seized a UAE-flagged vessel in the Red Sea.
During the talks, Moon said that he “strongly condemns” the seizure and any activity that “threatens peace and stability in the Middle East,” according to Moon’s spokesperson Park Kyung-mee.
Moon told the crown prince that he hopes the ship and her crew will be freed and return home safely.
Moon and the crown prince also discussed potential deals on defense and weapons systems as well as Korea’s nuclear fusion reactors, Park said.