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SEOUL: The Korean Embassy in Riyadh recently hosted reporters from Saudi Arabia and across the globe at the week-long World Journalists Conference here to enhance the Asia nation’s relations with other countries.

“As a Saudi journalist, your experience and exchanges of views in Korea, along with your insights, will provide a great introduction about Korea to Saudi Arabia,” Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Choi Byung Hyuk told Arab News.

“Cooperation is expanding beyond traditional construction and energy sectors to include areas like plants, hydrogen supply chains, defense, and culture — leveraging Korea’s economic development expertise, experience, and the capabilities and technologies of its excellent companies,” he added.

The WJC invited over 65 international journalists including an Arab News reporter to the week-long conference organized by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Korea Press Foundation.

The participants discussed various issues including the role of media in war reporting, efforts to achieve world peace, and Korea’s foreign policy.

The conference included sessions on the impact of Web3 on digital media and journalism and Seoul’s Tourism Renewal plan.

The organizers, during the trip, highlighted Korea’s culture, landscapes, history, diplomatic relations, and emerging scientific advancements.

“Korea has developed economically and is also well-known culturally to Saudi youth through K-pop, K-movies, and dramas,” the Korean ambassador explained.

Hyuk said the natural environment of Korea makes it a great place to visit and explore. “Korean people, like Saudis, are known for their warmth and hospitality, which will be quickly evident through long-term interactions.”

He added that there was a growing Muslim community in Korea.

Hyuk said the visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Korea in November 2022 and President Yoon Suk-Yeol’s trip to Saudi Arabia in October 2023 has led to “rapid progress in bilateral relations.”

In his remarks at the opening of the 12th WJC conference, Jong Hyun Park, president of the Journalists Association of Korea, said: “Since 2013, in the spirit of the global era, foreign journalists, who are engaged in similar deliberations and tasks within our global village, have been gathering at the WJC. This assembly aims to tackle common global challenges and engage in meaningful discussions about the future of journalism.”

“Our unity is rooted in a shared commitment to journalism, transcending differences in nationality, gender, skin, color, and ideology. We hope you will seize the opportunity to explore South Korea’s rich traditional culture and unique characteristics of each region, including visits to Seoul, Gyeonggi-do, Incheon, Suwon, Ansan, and the demilitarized zone,” Park added.

The speakers at the event included Joo Hee Lee, the managing editor of the Korea Herald, Anum Hanif, the producer of the Hum News Network in Pakistan, Nicola Smith, Asia correspondent for The Telegraph in the UK, Leonardo Casa, the deputy director of BioBio Chile, and Ki Yon Kil, the president and CEO of the Seoul Tourism Organization.

The tour included Incheon, Seoul, Suwon, Yongin and Ansan, where journalists were able to meet local people and see how technology was shaping communities.

There was also a visit to the demilitarized zone and the Dora observatory. Through binoculars, visitors were able to view the mountains and farmlands on the North Korea side, and the city of Gaeseong.

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