S. Korea, Saudis to Sign Nuclear Pact

S. Korea, Saudis to Sign Nuclear PactS. Korea, Saudis to Sign Nuclear Pact

South Korea and Saudi Arabia will sign an agreement on nuclear cooperation during a two-day visit by President Park Geun-Hye that began Tuesday, a diplomat said.

Official Saudi media confirmed that Park had arrived in Riyadh, AFP reported.

"We'll have some framework agreement" on technical cooperation, research and development and the exchange of personnel in the nuclear field, said Jungho Lee, head of the political section at Seoul's embassy.

He said the agreement would be reached between King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE) and South Korea's science, ICT and future planning ministry.

Saudi Arabia is the world's biggest petroleum exporter and entirely dependent on oil and gas for its electricity production.

The late King Abdullah established K.A.CARE in 2010 to develop alternate energy, including atomic power.

Lee said he expects several other agreements, mostly economic, to be signed between the kingdom and South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy, which imports nearly all of its energy supplies.

Park's visit is the first by a South Korean president since 2012.

The two nations enjoy "traditional friendly relations" but this is seen as a chance to strengthen ties and discuss "topics of common interest" after King Salman acceded to the throne in January after Abdullah's death, Lee said.

The leaders also exchanged their views on security issues and agreed to cooperate on bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is a South Korean ally that has no diplomatic ties with North Korea.

Later in the afternoon, the South Korean president met Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, second in line to the throne of Saudi Arabia, to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral ties.