16 March 2017
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman was visiting China as the final leg of his one-month six-nation Asia swing that included Japan. South Korea was conspicuously absent in the king’s itinerary.
The Korea-Saudi annual trade amounted to over $30 billion with the former being the fourth largest importer of Saudi oil. Ex-President Park Geun-hye visited the kingdom in 2015, making the fourth presidential visit to the kingdom since their 1962 establishment of diplomatic ties. S-Oil, the oil refinery 63 percent owned by Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state oil company, accounts for a significant market share in Korea and its stock is traded at the Korean main bourse.
Therefore, Salman’s decision to skip Korea despite these important bilateral relations, by all means, has enough grounds to be taken as snub by Korea and raises a couple of questions.
… James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Wurzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture. This story appeared in the South China Morning Post which holds all rights.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 17/03/2017