SEOUL // Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, last night said the country's ties with South Korea had seen "great strategic shifts" since signing of a US$20billion nuclear power deal last year. Sheikh Mohammed, who is in Seoul on a three-day diplomatic and economic visit to the east Asian nation, held talks with the South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak, ahead of a state banquet in the capital.
UAE-South Korean relations have strengthened since the signing of the US$20billion (Dh73.4bn) deal in December with a consortium of South Korean firms to build four nuclear-energy plants in the Emirates. "There is no doubt the mutual relationship between the two countries has witnessed great strategic shifts with the winning of the Korean consortium," said Sheikh Mohammed. The programme reflects the UAE's interest in clean energy as an alternative to less environment-friendly fuels such as oil and gas, officials said. The first reactor is expected to be operational by 2017.
The consortium, led by the Korea Electric Power Corp, also includes Samsung, Hyundai and Doosan Heavy Industries and the US firm Westinghouse, as well as Japan's Toshiba. Sheikh Mohammed arrived yesterday and underlined the UAE's intention to build on its already strong ties with the world's economic powers. "We aspire to develop and deepen our relationship with active world economic powers, with Korea being at the forefront," the Crown Prince said in a statement released upon his arrival.
The later meeting was also attended by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Foreign Minister.