x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Seoul is in the heart of the UAE

South Korea has carved out strategic partnerships in the UAE in areas from military training to building the world's tallest tower.

South Korea has carved out strategic partnerships in the UAE in areas such as military training and constructing the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

By far its biggest deal has been the US$20 billion (Dh73.46bn) contract to build and operate Abu Dhabi's planned nuclear power plant, set to be the first in the Arab world.

A consortium led by Korea Electric Power Corporation in 2009 beat competitors from longtime atomic-power nations including France and Japan to clinch the deal for four reactors.

Today, 4,000 staff are at work in the coastal outpost of Braka preparing the site.

Last month, Seoul scored another win with a concession to explore for oil in areas covering one tenth of the emirate's land mass.

The pact between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and the Korean partners, Korea National Oil Company and GS Energy, places South Korea alongside the western petroleum partners that have historically dominated the industry in the Gulf.

South Korean companies also played a major role in the building of the Burj Khalifa, scooped up engineering contracts for key infrastructure projects such as power plants and sewer systems, and sold grenade-launching rifles with integrated lasers and night-vision to the UAE Armed Forces.

The Global Green Growth Institute, headed by Han Seung-soo, a former prime minister, has opened an office at Abu Dhabi's carbon-neutral Masdar City, and South Korean troops have been sent to the UAE to train local forces in counterterrorism.

And in the evenings on the campus of Zayed University, Emirati students can be found studying the Korean alphabet.

ayee@thenational.ae

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