The four-decade-long ties between the UAE and South Korea, which have deepened with time, received a further boost with the visit of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to Seoul this week. The visit will heighten their collaborative profile to include the fields of 5G and information technology, security, defence and energy, adding another layer to the bedrock of their strategic partnership that already encompasses diverse fields such as peaceful nuclear uses, medical and health care, tourism, satellite technology, defence, security, trade and cultural exchanges.
The UAE and South Korea have much in common. Both countries have scripted their success stories in a remarkably short span time to emerge as dominant players on the global stage and both countries place deep emphasis on innovation, technology, research and development and human resources as the drivers of progress in their pursuit of exceptional national development. Both countries are also bound by the same vision to usher in the Fourth Industrial Revolution to further consolidate their positions as some of the dynamic economies to watch out for.
A defining moment in their bilateral ties has been South Korea’s collaboration on the UAE’s Barakah nuclear plant, which is to begin operations by the end of this year or at the beginning of 2020. And with South Korea signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to participate in Dubai Expo 2020, the trade ties between the two are set to touch newer highs. The UAE is South Korea’s top export market in the Middle East with trade totalling $15 billion (Dh55 billion) — an increase of 16.5 per cent over 2016.
The degree of warmth enjoyed by the two countries is reflected also in the visa-free travel they offer to each other’s citizens, which goes beyond being a diplomatic concession to a means of enhancing the people-to-people bond, an aspect that finds wide play in South Korea’s aim to have an expansive cultural menu at the Dubai Expo 2020. In 2016, South Korea opened its first cultural centre in the Gulf in Abu Dhabi.
In nurturing their bilateral ties in a myriad ways and scripting multi-layered narratives that hold an all-encompassing view of shared interests and outcomes, the UAE and South Korea are displaying a true partnership of progress as they stride towards their exciting futures.