RIYADH, President Yoon Suk Yeol pledged Monday to expand scholarships for Saudi Arabian youths wishing to study in South Korea, saying future generations are the driving force behind change and innovation.
Yoon made the remark during a speech in front of some 2,000 students at King Saud University, which came as the president is on a four-day state visit to the Arab kingdom.
"The Republic of Korea government will provide active support so that more Saudi Arabian youths can visit South Korea to learn the Korean language and experience Korean culture, and take part in education and research in various areas," he said.
"We will also expand the government's scholarship assistance for Saudi students who wish to study at South Korean universities," he added.
King Saud University is the oldest university in Saudi Arabia, and Yoon was the first foreign leader to speak there, according to his office.
Yoon said the history between South Korea and Saudi Arabia goes back more than 1,000 years, and that the special partnership forged through infrastructure cooperation, including South Korea's construction of highways in Saudi Arabia in the 1970s, served as an important stepping stone for South Korea's economic development.
"South Korea and Saudi Arabia must be born again into first movers that develop and lead new areas," Yoon said, claiming all countries that achieved remarkable growth through innovation respected creativity and diversity while cultivating talented people.
"The driving force that creates and practices change and innovation is all of you, the young people who are the future generation," he added, noting Saudi Arabia is a young nation where 63 percent of the population is 30 years old or younger.
Yoon pledged to develop study abroad programs in South Korea tailored to the interests of Saudi students, citing research in the bio, medical and renewable energy sectors, and the strengthening of women's leadership.
"Going forward, the friendly and cooperative relations between South Korea and Saudi Arabia can further deepen when the two countries' students and experts actively carry out exchanges and jointly conduct research," he said.
Source: Yonhap News Agency