President Yoon Seok-yeol, who is on a state visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), packed his travel package. Along with a large economic delegation, President Yoon was promised large-scale investment by the UAE and signed a number of memorandums of understanding (MOUs) to support them and serve as a springboard for economic cooperation.
President Yoon will conclude his state visit to the UAE on 17 March (local time). For three nights and four days, President Yoon focused on the "economy," which led to rich results.
President Yoon, who visited the UAE for the first time as a Korean leader, held a summit meeting with Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and a fellowship dinner without an interpreter. The two leaders spent more than three hours holding the summit meeting, beyond the scheduled 100 minutes, and spent a lot of time accompanying them to the Baraka nuclear plant, cementing trust and friendship as brothers who will be together for 100 years.
In addition to nuclear power plants and infrastructure, these moves have led to the strengthening of cooperation between the two countries in all directions in the field of Daanghya. The most tangible achievement is the UAE's commitment to invest $30 billion (about 37 trillion KRW) in Korea. This was specified in the joint statement of the UAE-ROK leaders.
During a summit meeting with President Yoon on 15 March, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said, "I have decided to invest $30 billion out of trust in the Republic of Korea, which keeps its promises under any circumstances."
The government expected investment from the UAE but not as much as $30 billion. Government officials who attended the summit at the time reportedly reacted with surprise.
The $30 billion is also the largest ever for the UAE's cross-border investment cooperation. Previously, the largest ever was £10 billion (about $12.2 billion) invested in the UK. The UAE's investment in South Korea is overwhelmingly large compared to China ($5 billion, about 6.2 trillion won) and France (1.5 billion euros, about 2 trillion won).
The success of the Barakah nuclear plant was crucial until the UAE's breakthrough investment was made. The Baraka nuclear plant, which was ordered in December 2009 during the Lee Myung-bak government, was built over a period of 14 years and within the promised deadline and budget. The "trust" that Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan referred to was built through the Baraka nuclear plant.
Investments from the UAE will be channeled into strategic cooperation between the two countries, including nuclear power, defense, hydrogen and solar energy. The government plans to establish a ROK-UAE investment cooperation platform (tentative name) to support the investment agreed upon by the two leaders without a hitch.
On the occasion of President Yoon's state visit, various MOUs were also signed. A total of 48 MOUs has been signed through the summit and the Korea-UAE Business Forum.
Under President Yoon and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the two countries signed a total of 13 MOUs in the fields of nuclear energy, energy, investment, defense industry, and climate change. Furthermore, 24 additional MOUs were signed at a business forum attended by a large economic delegation. There were also 11 MOUs that were conducted individually.
A senior official of the Office of the President said, "The MOU is an important asset that raises economic cooperation between the two countries to a new level," adding, "Based on the MOU, the government will closely support companies to achieve practical results and discuss it at export strategy meetings."
The Korea-UAE Business Consultation held in conjunction with the Korea-UAE Business Forum also yielded results. At the consultation meeting, which was attended by a total of 141 companies, including 36 Korean companies and 105 UAE buyers, the contract size promoted through 257 1:1 consultation according to various cooperation methods such as technical cooperation and joint entry was calculated to be $11 million.
On the 16th, President Yoon also visited the Baraka nuclear plant, a symbol of bilateral cooperation. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, son of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Office of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), received President Yoon. Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is best known as the owner of Manchester City in the English Premier League.
President Yoon emphasized strengthening cooperation in the energy field, saying, "It is time for the Republic of Korea and the UAE to build on the success of Baraka and work together to create expanded achievements, including further nuclear cooperation in the UAE and joint entry into third countries." On the occasion of this state visit, the government plans to pursue further orders for nuclear power plants in the UAE and joint entry into third countries.
Korea and the UAE will expand their mutual partnership through a framework to lead clean energy development at home and abroad and create economic and environmental benefits through the export of new nuclear plants, the utilization of the latest technologies such as small modular nuclear power plants (SMRs), and the production of clean hydrogen.
President Yoon also visited the ARC troops deployed to the UAE. President Yoon met with service members who are working for the security of their brothers' countries and encouraged them, saying, "If we let the world know that the ROK's defense capability is so strong, we will break the enemy's will to provoke."
After a state visit to the UAE in Dubai, President Yoon will travel to Switzerland to attend the Davos Forum. President Yoon will deliver a special speech at the Davos Forum.
President Yoon also plans to hold meetings with CEOs of major domestic and foreign companies and support bidding activities for the Busan World Expo 2030. [News1]