Yoon wraps up UAE trip, calls for science and tech cooperation
President Yoon Suk Yeol wrapped up a four-day state visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Tuesday, an opportunity to deepen relations and seal a series of energy, business and arms deals.
On the last day of the UAE trip, Yoon focused on science and technology cooperation during an event in Dubai.
“Through solidarity and cooperation based on science and technology, we must now overcome common crises that face humanity such as climate change, pandemics, an aging population and low economic growth,” said Yoon in an address at the Future Vision Forum in Dubai on Tuesday.
On Sunday, Yoon held a bilateral summit with UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, the first state visit by a Korean leader to the country since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1980.
The two sides adopted a joint statement Monday promising to “deepen and further develop” the special strategic partnership between the countries.
The statement focused on cooperation in 14 areas under three overarching themes: strengthening cooperation in key areas; enhancing future-oriented cooperation; and peace and stability.
They promised to strengthen strategic cooperation in conventional energy and clean energy, peaceful nuclear energy, investment and defense and defense technology. Other areas of mutual interest included space, emerging industries and culture.
Regarding investment and economic cooperation, the statement said that by “building on the UAE’s confidence in the ROK’s economic strength and growth prospects, the UAE announced a commitment by its sovereign wealth funds to invest $30 billion in strategic sectors,” referring to the acronym for the South’s official name, the Republic of Korea.
The two leaders also reaffirmed that North Korea’s “relentless pursuit of nuclear and missile development poses a serious threat to peace and stability not only on the Korean Peninsula, but also in the whole world.”
Yoon was accompanied by a 100-strong business delegation to the UAE, including executives of some of Korea’s leading conglomerates who will also be taking part in the Davos Forum in Switzerland this week.
The two countries signed 48 memoranda of understanding (MOUs) during the visit, according to the presidential office, including 13 in the presence of the two presidents, as Yoon focused on “sales diplomacy” during this trip. This also included 24 MOUs and contracts signed at the Korea-UAE Business Forum in Abu Dhabi Monday.
Korean business executives including Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Euisun Chung, Samsung Electronics Executive Chairman Lee Jae-yong and SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won took part in a luncheon at the presidential palace Sunday, which included a camel-meat meal.
“Your achievements this time around will be the signal for a new Middle East boom,” said Yoon at a dinner banquet with business executives on Monday. “As I always say, the government and corporations are one body and one team.”
Yoon also visited the Barakah nuclear power plant on Monday and took part in a ceremony commemorating the completion of Unit 3, a visit that underscored the role of peaceful nuclear energy in bilateral collaboration between the countries.
Yoon, first lady Kim Keon-hee and their entourage were later scheduled to fly to Switzerland, the second leg of Yoon’s eight-day tour, where he will meet with Korean and global business leaders Wednesday and make an address to the World Economic Forum in Davos.
BY SARAH KIM [email@example.com]