Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 February 2020

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi embarks on tour of South Korea

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed will meet President Moon Jae-in to discuss ways to increase strategic relations

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, has embarked on a tour of South Korea, during which he will meet the leader of one of the world's most developed nations.

The Crown Prince landed on Tuesday in Seoul where he is set to meet President Moon Jae-in to discuss co-operation in 5G technology, information technology, security and defence.

"I have arrived in South Korea, a country with which we have strong strategic ties," Sheikh Mohamed said in a tweet. "We look forward to opening new horizons of co-operation and forging constructive partnerships."

Sheikh Mohamed started his official visit with a stop at Memorial Tower in Seoul National Cemetery.

The visit to the memorial - which commemorates South Korean veterans - began with a flag-raising ceremony before Sheikh Mohamed laid a wreath at the base of the landmark.

"The commemoration of those who sacrificed themselves in defence of their homeland, and to keep this memory alive in the minds and hearts of generations, is the least that can be offered to them," Sheikh Mohamed said. "This remarkable national landmark honours lives who have left an impressive mark on the history of Korea and the development of its people."

His next stop was the Samsung Device Solutions Research Centre in Hwaseong, a city in a province south of the capital. There he toured one of the company’s most advanced facilities and met with the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, Lee Jae-yong. The two discussed ways to increase co-operation between Emirati companies and Samsung, particularly in 5G communications and artificial intelligence technologies, according to state news agency Wam.

"During my visit to the Samsung Semiconductor Research Center, I was very interested in expanding our co-operation with Korean companies and taking advantage of their expertise in innovation and the use of artificial intelligence," Sheikh Mohamed tweeted.

His tour included a demonstration of the latest Samsung technologies, including an unmanned aircraft flying over the Hwaseong centre that captured 360-degree, high-definition video footage, that was transferred to virtual reality goggles which Sheikh Mohamed wore.

"What I have seen today at Samsung Electronics Research and Development Centre is both impressive and appreciated.

“We in the UAE care to keep up with innovative technologies and the advanced sciences and supporting partnerships to improve our society's quality of life," Sheikh Mohamed said.

Sheikh Mohamed rounded off his first day in South Korea by visiting the Korean National Assembly and meeting its leaders.

“Parliamentary relations are an important part of the close relationship between our friendly countries and peoples,” he said on Twitter.

Sheikh Mohamed was welcomed by Moon He-sang, speaker of the National Assembly in Yeouido.

“The UAE is an ideal country that enjoys political stability and openness, and is a leader for peace and stability in the region,” said Mr Moon. “The Papal Visit to the UAE is testament to this, and sends a message of peace from the UAE to the world.”

The UAE and South Korea have ties stretching back almost 40 years, but have enjoyed particularly close relations since 2009 when Seoul's part-state-owned energy company won a $25 billion (Dh92bn) contract to build the first nuclear power plant in the Middle East, in Al Dhafra.

The countries formed a special strategic partnership when Mr Moon visited the Emirates in March 2018.

The UAE is the only Middle Eastern country and one of only three nations to have established such a relationship with South Korea.

South Korea's nuclear engineers and technicians now work hand-in-hand with a large Emirati workforce at Barakah, while South Korean academics make up a substantial portion of the faculty at Khalifa University's nuclear engineering school.

Zayed University offers Korean language classes to the public, travellers enjoy direct air links and about 200 Korean companies operate in the UAE, while the number of Korean citizens in the Emirates has risen to about 12,000.

On Tuesday, Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said the visit to Seoul would help strengthen ties between the two nations, opening up new opportunities for investment and other business partnerships.

He tweeted that the scheduled meetings would "enhance strategic relations" and aid "scientific and technological co-operation".

Updated: February 26, 2019 08:57 PM



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