S. Korea, Saudi Arabia agree to jointly develop hydrogen economy

South Korean President Moon Jae-in held talks with Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday and agreed to work together for hydrogen economies.

After holding the talks at Al-Yamamah palace in Riyadh, the two nations signed preliminary deals to jointly develop so-called green hydrogen, which is produced from renewable energy sources, and jointly build a hydrogen ecosystem, Moon's office said in a statement.

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.

After the talks, Moon will attend a business forum and meet Yasir al-Rumayyan, chairman of Aramco, the kingdom's state oil giant. The Aramco chairman also heads Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund.

The trip to Saudi Arabia followed a four-day visit to Dubai that included the signing of a preliminary deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to sell midrange surface-to-air missiles in the latest sign of deepening defense cooperation between the two nations.

Moon is scheduled to visit Egypt on Wednesday.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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