The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and South Korea signed a major memorandum of understanding to hold regular “strategic dialogue” on foreign ministers’ level. “The pact was signed by GCC chief Abdullatif Al-Zayani and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se in New York on Friday,” said South Korean Ambassador Kim Jin-soo on Sunday in Riyadh.
“The ministerial level political consultations within the framework of the strategic dialogue agreement will give new dimension to GCC-Korean relation,” Kim told Arab News. He said the pact, inked on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, will go a long way in tackling a wide range of issues confronting the Middle East as well as the Korean Peninsula.
“In the GCC-Korea meeting, Minister Yun raised the need to diversify the sectors of cooperation between the Republic of Korea and the GCC member states,” said a statement posted on the website of the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He called for boosting ties in education, environment, information and communications technology, finance, defense industry, new and renewable energy and nuclear power plants.
On the other hand, the GCC ministers drew attention to the ongoing work to resume negotiations on a Korea-GCC FTA in accordance with the decision at the GCC foreign ministers’ meeting early this year. Minister Yun expressed hopes of resuming the negotiations with a view to mapping out ways to step up the bilateral economic cooperation.
With regard to the situation in the Middle East, the two sides agreed on the need for joint international responses to emerging threats from the so-called Islamic State and the issue of foreign fighters. Yun commended the leading role of the GCC in responding to such issues. The GCC side also expressed consent as well as hope for a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue.
Asked about new developments on bilateral level between Saudi Arabia and Korea, Ambassador Kim pointed out that a major “Business Opportunities Forum” will be inaugurated in Seoul on Oct. 29. The three-day business event will be attended by several Saudi ministers and high-ranking officials, including SAGIA Gov. Abdullatif A. Al-Othman andCommerce and Industry Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah.
“This will be fourth such forum being organized by Saudi Arabia after it hosted similar forums in Western countries,” he said.

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