“South Korea is one of the first partners that Saudi Arabia has worked with since it started preparations for the G20 Summit.”
In an interview with the Dong-A Ilbo at the Saudi Embassy in Yongsan District, central Seoul, last Wednesday before the upcoming G20 Summit is held in Saudi Arabia on Saturday and Sunday, Saudi Ambassador Riyad A. H. Almubaraky said, "Saudi sherpas put South Korea high on the list of priority countries to visit when they geared up to prepare for the G20 Summit." "Saudi Arabia and South Korea have a close cooperative relationship. It is widely recognized that South Korea has a high international standing as an economic and cultural leader.”
As the third Asian host of the G20 Summit following South Korea and Japan, Saudi Arabia planned to hold various additional events and present its current reform and openness strategies in the capital city of Riyadh. However, the spread of COVID-19 has turned the upcoming international event into a virtual meeting.
Ambassador Almubaraky said, "The G20 Summit in Saudi Arabia touches upon issues that the international community as a whole has long attempted to address: women and youth; global resources and environmental protection; and sharing of innovation and technological development." He hoped that this year's G20 Summit will give the international community a chance to make a concerted effort. "The agenda items of the meeting will appropriately support Saudi Arabia's vision for reform and openness."
Working 10 years in South Korea as an embassy secretary (1990-1995) and ambassador (since 2016), Ambassador Almubaraky has been known as one of the most competent experts on South Korea in the Saudi Arabian Foreign Affairs Ministry. Asked about how Saudi people view South Korea, he replied in smile, "I do not even have to introduce it to others because many of them are already aware of the changes and strong points of the nation. In particular, we have a lot of experts on South Korea's economic development and pop culture."
With a growing popularity of South Korea across Saudi Arabia in mind, Ambassador Almubaraky is interested in setting up a Korean language department and a research center on South Korean affairs at King Saud University, or the country's most prestigious national university. "If King Saud University becomes home to Korea-related apparatuses, young Saudi people will show a great interest in them," the Saudi ambassador said. "We are working to make it become a reality."
Se-Hyung Lee firstname.lastname@example.org