The following New Year Message of Ambassador Abdulla AlRomaithi of the UAE was contributed to The Korea Post for publication with a view to further promoting the close ties of cooperation between the UAE and Korea.?Ed.
I seize the opportunity of the New Year to express my sincere and heart-felt congratulations to The Korea Post wishing it more progress and achievements.
Before talking about the outlook for the relations between the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Korea in the New Year, a look at what had been achieved in last year is reviewed.
The course of achievements in the UAE has continued over the past year with the new plans and initiatives put by H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, H.H. Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, their fellow members of the Supreme Council of Rulers and H.H. Gen. Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Politically, the UAE has maintained its profile as a stable nation. Citizen’s participation in the political arena is shown in the voting process for the Federal National Council Elections nationally and in 94 polling stations spreading over most of the UAE embassies and diplomatic missions abroad including our embassy last September.
At the economic level, non-oil sectors, including trade, aviation, tourism and retail, have performed perfectly beside oil and gas being the key sector of the UAE economy. Socially, efforts have been made toward improving the services for citizens and residents.
In its ties with other nations, the UAE has continued its presence and position on both regional and international levels thanks to the efforts spearheaded by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is actively participating at the two scenes as well as highlighting the UAE role in this respect over the year. The country has pursued the promotion of dialogue, co-operation and conflict-resolution with nations in the Arab region, the broader Muslim community and beyond. Resolving conflicts and disputes through dialogue and peaceful means is another principle pursued by the UAE. This is clearly shown in the country’s dealing with the Iranian occupation of the three UAE islands, Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs.
The UAE participated actively in the coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia in the "Restore of Hope" Operation in Yemen. In September, our embassy joined other UAE embassies and representative missions abroad in flying the national flag at half-mast to mourn the martyrs of duty and right, brave members of the UAE armed forces, who died while performing their duties with the said coalition forces.
The UAE has played its role with the international community in coping with challenges such as peace-keeping and security operations, eradication of terrorism, fighting drug, arms and human trafficking, tackling piracy, organized crimes and nuclear non-proliferation. It has committed to the conservation of environment. It has made noticeable steps in the global efforts to face environmental problems and mitigate global warming.
As the bilateral ties with the Republic of Korea are concerned, the UAE has continued its efforts to reinforce its strategic partnership established in late 2009. Over the course of the year, visits between leaders, high-ranking officials and delegations representing different sectors have been exchanged. During the visits, the two sides discussed issues of mutual interests including bilateral cooperation. They also coordinated their positions in regional and international arena. The visit made to UAE by H.E. President Park Geun-hye last March was the latest in a series of such visits. During the visit, the two sides checked the progress of the joint projects already in place including nuclear plants. Agreements on new fields were also reached.
Bilateral trade has seen good performance last year. Direct investments made by each country in the other country also made steady progress. As the people-to-people exchanges are concerned, the Korean medical tourism is attracting many UAE citizens seeking high quality medical and health services. In implementation of the agreements signed with their Korean counterparts, Health authorities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are actively involved into sending patients to receive treatment in major Korean hospitals and medical centers. A famous Korean hospital has successfully assumed the management of the state-of-the-art Sheikh Khalifa Specialized Hospital in Ras-al-Khaimah.
In addition, the UAE has continued its interest in higher education in Korea, sending students and trainees to Korean universities as well as arranging visits to Korea by groups of university students during summer holiday. This helped students and trainees to learn more about Korean education and technological advancement as well as understanding the Korean culture. The number of tourists in both directions is increasing thanks to the tourism attraction in each country and the daily non-stop flights connecting major cities in the two friendly nations.
In the years to come, the scope of the partnership is expected to be enhanced and expanded. Potential areas of collaboration include new and renewable energy, information and communications technology and finance services, joint project and investment management as well as other future growth engines.
In this year, the UAE is continuing its efforts in solidifying the existing strategic partnership with Korea. The joint projects between the two friendly nations proceeded smoothly in 2015. In 2016, more efforts will be made to further reinforce and cement the partnership between the two countries through the collaboration and the exchange of visits.