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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Ties between UAE and South Korea stretch back almost 40 years

Both countries have long-standing relations that date back decades

Emirati President Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan (R) meets with South Korean Prime Minister Lee Han-Dong in Abu Dhabi 13 May 2001, as part of the Asian leader's Gulf tour aimed at increasing trade and boosting relations with his country.   / AFP PHOTO / WAM
Emirati President Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan (R) meets with South Korean Prime Minister Lee Han-Dong in Abu Dhabi 13 May 2001, as part of the Asian leader's Gulf tour aimed at increasing trade and boosting relations with his country. / AFP PHOTO / WAM

The relationship between UAE and South Korea first began in 1980 when South Korea was still trying to overcome economic poverty.

“The relations with the UAE strongly relate to the development of Korea,” said Jin-wook Hong, director-general of the African and Middle Eastern Affairs Bureau at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul.

“Both countries built the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant and, at the end of this year, we hope to be able to see the [operation] of the first nuclear reactor.”

Last June, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and President Jae-in Moon touched upon various fields of co-operation, from nuclear to defence and security.

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“Korea has despatched special forces to be deployed in the Abu Dhabi area and those areas of co-operation are the very symbols of a long-lasting bilateral relationship,” Mr Hong said.

“We’ve been expanding the areas of co-operation like medical, healthcare, tourism, with more than 20 flights per week between Korea and Abu Dhabi and more than 200,000 Koreans flying to the UAE every year.”

South Korea has also been contributing to the development of UAE satellites, such as Khalifa Sat, currently in Korea for its final check-up before launching later this year.

In e-government, Korea is helping to export its state-of-the-art technology in custom clearance to help reduce waiting times of cargo. “The UAE is interested in introducing those kind of user-friendly systems,” Mr Hong said.

“Korea is also helping the UAE government set up an electronic patent system for handling patent-related affairs.”