Seoul: The UAE and Korea have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, launching the official UAE-Korea Dialogue for 2020, in the presence of Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, and Park Yang-woo, Korean Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two nations, the UAE-Korea Cultural Dialogue will foster mutual cultural understanding and knowledge exchange between both countries, as well as paving a road for continued growth in the fields of culture and arts, education, media, and sports.
The UAE-Korea Cultural Dialogue 2020 builds on the Special Strategic Partnership, was established following South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s visit to the UAE in March 2018 and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan's visit to South Korea in February 2019.
Taking the bilateral cooperation beyond economic and trade relations, the Cultural Dialogue aims to converge the efforts of the cultural sectors of both nations through cultural exchange, events, initiatives and ideas across the fields of heritage, literature, visual and performing arts, design, AI, education and more.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed visit to South Korea in February this year, and his meeting with President Moon Jae-in, provided a new impetus to the strategic partnership between the two countries. The visit brought forth a series of discussions of upcoming partnerships and agreements, including the UAE-Korea Cultural Dialogue.
Speaking at the press conference in Seoul following the signing, Noura Al Kaabi reiterated the UAE’s strong bilateral ties with the Republic of Korea, stating that the nations share common values in culture, tradition and mutual respect. "The launch of the UAE-Korea Cultural Dialogue 2020 marks an important milestone in the history of our relations that focus on continued growth regardless of geographical distance. Thanks to the countries’ visionary leadership, the bilateral ties of cooperation between our friendly nations have been growing steadily over the past 40 years and the Cultural Dialogue will further our global understanding of each other’s culture and traditions," she said.
"Promoting cultural dialogue between nations is one of the essential tools for the continued growth and development of human civilization and striving towards a peaceful coexistence, regardless of geographical distance. The UAE and the Arab region have been a crossroads for different cultures between East and West since the dawn of time," the Minister added. "Therefore, the values of coexistence, human fraternity and welcoming others are inherent in our societies and history."
"The UAE signed a strategic partnership agreement with the Republic of South Korea in 2009, which opened up promising prospects in various sectors, including defence, health care, culture, energy and more. The UAE and Korean experience in civilisation and renaissance development is similar; Korean President Moon Jae-in described the UAE renaissance as the ‘miracle of the desert’ and the South Korean renaissance as the ‘miracle of the Han River’," she continued.
For his part, Park Yang-Woo expressed his pleasure at 2020 being named the year of UAE-Korea Cultural Dialogue, and the prospects of furthering cultural exchange and ties. He praised the values of tolerance and coexistence that characterise Emirati culture, which contributes to harmony and coexistence between different religions, races and cultures and cultural diversity, and expressed his hope that the Dialogue’s cultural events will deepen the friendship between the two countries and spread the Emirati culture in Asia and the Korean culture in the Middle East region.
Abdulla Saif Al Nuaimi, UAE Ambassador to Korea, spoke about special strategic relationship that the UAE and Korea hold, emphasising that the UAE is the first Middle Eastern country to hold this status with Korea. He also mentioned the significance of the Korean Cultural Centre in the UAE, which is the second of its kind in the Middle East.
Since 2013, Abu Dhabi has hosted the Korea Festival, showcasing and celebrating Korean culture. In 2015, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation signed an MoU with the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2015 agreeing to establish the Korean Cultural Centre, KCC, in Abu Dhabi. The KCC’s opening in 2016 was a major cultural milestone between the two countries as it is the first of its kind to be established in the Middle East. Earlier this year, the Republic of Korea was named the Country of Honour in the annual Abu Dhabi Festival 2019.
The Republic of Korea will also host an innovatively designed pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai next year, highlighting the nation’s extensive cultural aspects through music, travel, Fourth Industrial Revolution ambitions. The pavilion will be held under the theme of ‘Smart Korea, Moving the World to You’, and will host events to capitalise on the global popularity of its cinema, television, and music.
Extending their strategic ties with a long-term vision in mind, both nations have agreed to coordinate their efforts in supporting various cultural activations and initiatives that target local communities. Further details of the events under the UAE-Korea Cultural Dialogue will be announced soon.