x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Saudi Arabia 'pledges secure energy supply' to South Korea

The assurances came as South Korea's President Lee Myung-Bak held talks in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday with the Saudi oil minister, Ali Al Naimi, and the head of Saudi state oil giant Aramco, Khalid Al Faleh.

Lee Myung-bak, South Korea’s President , arrives in Riyadh on Tuesday. Mr Lee will visit Qatar today and the UAE.
Lee Myung-bak, South Korea’s President , arrives in Riyadh on Tuesday. Mr Lee will visit Qatar today and the UAE.

RIYADH // Saudi Arabia pledged to ensure a stable supply of oil to South Korea, which is under pressure from the United States to reduce purchases from Iran.

The assurances came as South Korea's President Lee Myung-Bak held talks in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday with the Saudi oil minister, Ali Al Naimi, and the head of Saudi state oil giant Aramco, Khalid Al Faleh.

They discussed "means of bilateral cooperation between both countries", Saudi state news agency SPA reported yesterday.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted a senior official as saying Mr Al Naimi had "promised to help ensure a stable supply of crude to South Korea".

"Regarding oil supply-demand, we will meet any request and additional demand from South Korea," the South Korean presidential press secretary Choe Geum-nak quoted Mr Al Naimi as saying.

"Lee asked for Saudi's support for a stable supply of crude oil to South Korea in case of a contingency, stressing that a rise in oil prices at a time of global economic difficulty could deal a blow to the world economy," Yonhap quoted the official as saying.

Washington wants Seoul to reduce purchases of Iranian crude in line with a US-led drive to sanction Tehran for its suspected nuclear weapons programme.

Mr Lee was expected to meet King Abdullah and Saudi Arabia's defence minister yesterday for talks "about boosting cooperation in energy, construction, defence and health care areas", South Korea's presidential office said.

He will also visit Qatar today and make a stop in the UAE on his way home.

"I am determined to work harder than any other heads of state to overcome the (global financial) crisis this year, including visiting the three Middle Eastern nations," Mr Lee said during a meeting with South Korean residents in Saudi Arabia.