Chun Young Wook (left) and Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama at the Korean Foundation Day celebrations in Dubai. Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Dubai: The South Korean community in Dubai and the northern emirates marked their country’s Foundation Day on Wednesday with hopes of a stronger cooperation and cultural understanding between the UAE and South Korea especially as both countries prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The Korean Foundation Day is celebrated on October 3 to mark the foundation of the ancient Korean kingdom Gojoseon thousands of years ago.

In Dubai, Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, attended the reception along with senior government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and community members.

Opera Singer Hyewon Jung serenaded the guests with Korean classical music performing alongside a classical quartet that used a gayageum (traditional Korean string instrument). Authentic traditional Korean food was served, including the Bibimpab, a healthy dish of vegetables mixed with rice.

During the ceremony, South Korean consul general Chun Young Wook said the UAE and South Korea share many things in common — both are young countries that have achieved so much locally and internationally within a short period of time .

“The bilateral ties of friendship and cooperation between Korea and the UAE have been growing steadily under the strong leadership of the two countries over the past 60 years. Both our countries’ economies are geared towards trade and foreign investment; we both have placed a key focus on expanding infrastructure, fostering innovation and improving ease of doing business,” the consul general said.

“Over the past decade, the trade volume between our two countries has approximately reached $15 billion (Dh55 billion); South Korea became the UAE’s eighth largest trade partner in terms of imports and ninth in exports,” he added.

Currently, Korea is ranked the seventh largest exporting country in the world, and has been selected as the most innovative country for five consecutive years by Bloomberg since 2013.

About 170 Korean companies have established headquarters and offices in the UAE while 13,000 Korean expatriates consider the UAE their second home.

Now that the UAE is positioning itself to be first in the field of artificial intelligence investments in various sectors, Chun is positive that this is another opportunity for both countries.

“Stemming from our firm belief in innovation and power of technology, both Korea and the UAE have adopted proactive strategies to prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, for which I am sure Minister Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama will accelerate the cooperation between Korea and the UAE. Korea will pursue avant-garde common growth plans with the UAE by collaborating to establish the UAE patent administration information system and help it emerge as a hub for intellectual property rights in the Middle East,” he said.

South Korean latest technology, know-how, expertise and talent are on display in the UAE and the best examples are the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, the huge oil storage for the UAE’S Indian Ocean port, the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant, the Shaikh Khalifa Specialty Hospital, among others.

“As the UAE prepares for the 2020 Expo, which promises to be a monumental event and a catalyst that will trigger new economic growth in the UAE, Korean companies seek opportunities which will create a win-win situation for both countries and consolidate the cooperation between Korea and the UAE and expand its connections in the Middle East and other continents.”