June 17, 2019 12:39
Saudi Arabia's controversial Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who effectively runs his oil-rich country, will visit Seoul, right before the G20 Summit in Osaka later this month, sources said Friday.
Bin Salman is expected in Seoul around June 25 and meets with President Moon Jae-in the following day.
His visit will take in the Agency for Defense Development during his trip, since Saudi Arabia is one of the world's most enthusiastic buyers of arms and is currently engaged in a devastating war in neighboring Yemen.
"Bin Salman wants more technology transfers when his country imports foreign weapons," a government source here said. "That's why he wants to visit the ADD instead of simply visiting an arms exhibition hall."
Last month, two countries discussed ways to increase military exchanges and cooperation in the defense industry in Riyadh.
He will also attend an event to be hosted by S-Oil, which is the largest foreign shareholder in Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil company Aramco.
The prince is a divisive figure, combining tentative reforms with an increasingly belligerent approach to regional issues and brutal suppression of dissidents at home, not least the barbaric murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last year.
But thanks to his country's vast oil reserves and habit of placing massive defense orders from Western countries, he has largely escaped official censure from overseas and enjoys the favor of U.S. President Donald Trump.
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