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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Qatar, South Korea step closer to mutual visa exemption


No further details were disclosed regarding the agreement.

Qatar’s cabinet approved a draft agreement on mutual exemption of entry visas between the Gulf state and South Korea, state news agency [QNA] reported on Wednesday.

South Korean nationals travelling to Qatar are currently required to obtain a 30-day visa on-arrival, with the ability to extend their stay for an additional 30 days.

Prior to the pandemic, Qatari citizens travelling to South Korea for 30 days were not required to apply for a visa.

Qatar, South Korea sign 20-year LNG deal

Qatari nationals travelling for business purposes for a maximum of 90 days must obtain a Korea Electronic Travel Authorisation [K-ETA] and an official note from the Ministry of Justice in Korea.

The agreement suggests a development in diplomatic ties between Qatar and South Korea.

The countries established bilateral ties in 1974 and have since witnessed progress in political, economic and cultural sectors.

In July this year, Korean Gas Corporation [KOGAS] signed a 20-year agreement with Qatar Petroleum [now QatarEnergy] to purchase an additional 2 million tonnes of liquified natural gas [LNG] per year starting from 2025.

Under the new LNG agreement, South Korea will be able to import 6.1 million tonnes of LNG from Qatar annually.

The South Korean energy ministry previously bought 9 million tonnes of LNG from the Gulf state through long-term contracts, and the latest deal comes as a previous contract worth 4.9 million tonnes is expected to end in 2024.

In 2020, Qatar represented 22% of South Korea’s LNG imports, followed by Australia which accounted for 20% and the US with 14%.

South Korea also sought political assistance from Qatar in January for the release of an Iran-seized vessel.

At the time, South Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong Kun met with Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani to seek mediation from the Gulf state amid rising tensions between Tehran and Seoul over “frozen funds”.

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