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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and South Korea have made headway on 40 projects identified by a joint panel within the framework of Vision 2030, according to South Korean Ambassador Jo Byung-Wook.

One of the biggest is a collaboration in the nuclear-energy sector, as part of which 48 Saudi nuclear engineers have so far been sent to South Korea to work with experts there.

Speaking to Arab News, Jo said: “As Vision 2030 spurs exciting economic opportunities in Saudi Arabia, our two countries are rapidly expanding cooperation into diverse sectors such as health care, renewable and nuclear energy, smart cities, e-government, SMEs and capacity building,” he said.

The Korean envoy said most of these areas directly affect the daily lives of the Saudi people and are central to the Saudi government’s job-creation initiatives.

“The Korea-Saudi Vision 2030 committee, launched in October 2017, serves as a one-stop platform to manage cooperation across five key industrial sectors,” said Jo, adding that the committee has elevated about 40 cooperation projects to the government-to-government level.

“The projects include training the next generation of Saudi e-government specialists, strengthening the Kingdom’s health insurance system and building a state-of-the-art shipbuilding plant on the east coast. Additionally, we are working to share expertise in the renewable energy sector and in the construction of smart cities and smart airports. Indeed, there has been substantial progress across those 40 cooperation projects since the launch of the committee.

“In the sustainable and nuclear energy sector, Korea and Saudi Arabia are jointly designing compact-sized nuclear plants, namely SMART (System-integrated Modular Advanced Reactor Technology), that will be constructed in the Kingdom.”

He added: “Korea’s KEPCO is the world’s first and only contractor with experience building a nuclear reactor in a desert environment and climate very similar to that of Saudi Arabia — at the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in the UAE.”

A second Korea-Saudi Vision 2030 committee is due to meet later this year, focusing “on how to make real headway across those 40 cooperation projects,” said Jo.

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