Korea, and the UAE have great potential for substantially increased cooperation
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Korea, and the UAE have great potential for substantially increased cooperation
  • Lee Kyung-sik
  • 승인 2020.07.20 16:45
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As model countries of the world in controlling COVID-19

By Pulisher Lee Kyung-sik, Editor Ms. Joy Cho, Reporter Jeong Won-shik

The Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have a great deal of areas where the two countries could substantially benefit from each other through increased cooperation.

This was immediately apparent at a recent interview with Ambassador Abdulla Saif Al Nuaimi of the UAE in Seoul.

 

President Moon Jae-in (left) with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE Armed Forces.
President Moon Jae-in (left) with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE Armed Forces.

“My country takes keen interest in the advanced technology as it may be seen from the most recent cabinet shakeup,” said Ambassador Al Nuaimi at the interview with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news media since 1985.

Then came very important remarks made by Ambassador Al Nuaimi who stated: “Korea has made a significant advancement as well as having strategies and plans in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and, thus, Korean companies can expand their cooperation in my country in many areas, including the new growth engines such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Autonomous Vehicles (AV), biotechnology, 5G and Intellectual Property (IP).”

 

President Moon Jae-in (3rd from right) poses with Chairman Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak Abu Dhabi of the Executive Affairs Authority of Abu Dhabi (3rd from left), Ambassador Abdulla Saif Alnuaimi of the UAE in Seoul (second from left) and other Korean and UAE officials at Cheong Wa Dae on Jan. 9. Chief Presidential Secretary Im Jong-seok is seen second from right.
President Moon Jae-in (3rd from right) poses with Chairman Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak Abu Dhabi of the Executive Affairs Authority of Abu Dhabi (3rd from left), Ambassador Abdulla Saif Alnuaimi of the UAE in Seoul (second from left) and other Korean and UAE officials at Cheong Wa Dae on Jan. 9. Chief Presidential Secretary Im Jong-seok is seen second from right.

A wide range of topics was discussed with Ambassador Al Nuaimi at the interview. Excerpts follow:

 

Question: What is the present volume of trade between the two countries?

Answer: The trade volume between the UAE and the ROK totaled USD 12.5 billion in 2019. The UAE exports to the ROK totaled USD 9.0 billion, while the ROK exports to the UAE reached USD 3.5 billion.

Q: What types of Korean companies have waned in the UAE for investment and mutual cooperation?

A: All types of Korean companies are welcomed in the UAE. Each company can find the business that suits its plans and strategies, products or services. Large companies as well as small and medium companies can find opportunities in the UAE.

Q: What are the tourist attractions in the UAE?

A: There are many tourist attractions in the UAE throughout the country’s seven emirates including beaches famous for their golden sands and clean water, huge shopping centers, recreational facilities, several golf resorts, and even Ski Dubai (an indoor ski resort that provides ski lovers with the opportunity to enjoy it around the year.) In addition, the UAE distinguishes itself with unique sports such as falconry, camel riding, horsemanship and horseracing, and sand skiing in the desert.

 

President Moon Jae-in of Korea is seen 10th from left, front row, at the Baraka power plant in the UAE.
President Moon Jae-in of Korea is seen 10th from left, front row, at the Baraka power plant in the UAE.

Q: Any other comments the Embassy wants to be published?

A: On July 19, 2020, the UAE successfully launched its Mars mission from Japan's Tanegashima Space Center. The “Hope Mars mission” or Named Amal in Arabic has been in preparation since 2014. It will be the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission. The probe will orbit Mars for one Martian year (687 days) to gather data and study the red planet’s climate. Data will be distributed to some 200 research institutes complementing the work of other missions, including Nasa’s.

The mission will provide an incentive for young Arab scientists to embark on a career in space engineering and is important to the country’s long-term economic development supporting the UAE’s commitment to diversifying the economy. Last year, the UAE sent its first astronaut to the International Space Station. Hazza Al Mansouri, is first UAE citizen to the ISS. It was hoped that this will inspire and train a generation of engineers and scientists who can help prepare the country for a post-oil future.

 

President Moon Jae-in (left) shakes hands with Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the UAE.
President Moon Jae-in (left) shakes hands with Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the UAE.

Q: The on-going COVID-19 is posing great problems to all countries. How is the UAE coping with the situation?

A: Amid the COVID-19 global pandemic, the UAE has set an example of ‘humanitarian solidarity’ by providing medical and food supplies to over 70 countries of the world, including Africa, Central Asia, European countries, as well as neighboring Middle Eastern countries.

According to the Ambassador, the UAE maintains a free-market economy and is also one of the most politically stable and secure in the region. This ensures that the country has a robust competitive edge as the region's premier commercial hub and second-largest economy.

Economic growth in the UAE is steady despite a short-lived hiatus as the global economy faltered. Recovery was helped by high oil prices, increased government spending and a resurgence in tourism, transport and trade. In addition, successful restructuring of debt owed by high-profile companies, solidarity among the emirates and accommodative monetary and fiscal policies all played a role in bringing significant economic stability to the market.

Following the dip in 2010, UAE GDP rose to reach US$419 billion at the end of 2014, up 4.8 percent on 2013. The IMF predicts that GDP will continue to grow at a rate of 4 to 5 percent over the next seven years.

 

President Moon Jae-in and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi of the UAE (second and third from left, front row, respectively) applause at a meeting in the UAE.
President Moon Jae-in and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi of the UAE (second and third from left, front row, respectively) applause at a meeting in the UAE.

Abu Dhabi's “Economic Vision 2030” and Dubai's “Strategic Plan 2015” are leading the drive towards diversification. The strategy is to increase investment in industrial and other export-oriented sectors, including heavy industry, transport, petrochemicals, tourism, information technology, telecommunications, renewable energy, aviation and space, and oil and gas services. Much has already been achieved in these fields, especially in satellite and telecommunications, the aviation sector, and in renewable energy, and although short-term priorities have been altered to accommodate changing realities, the long-term strategy remains the same.

At the federal level, the UAE is pursuing its 2021 Vision, which aims to place innovation, research, science, and technology at the center of a knowledge-based, highly productive, and competitive economy by the time of the federation's golden jubilee in 2021.

Trade has played a major role in UAE economic life for many centuries. This is not altogether surprising considering the country's strategic geographical position. However, focused and far-seeing investment in airports, ports, and services, as well as an enabling business environment, has ensured that the UAE has become an important trading hub connecting regional markets to the outside world. Steady recovery of most economic sectors has also led to an increase in foreign trade. The UAE foreign trade indices bounced back in 2013 to pre-global financial crisis levels whilst bulk commodity exports, including oil, are expected to grow by 5.8 percent to US$381 billion in 2014, compared with US$354 billion in 2013.

 

Ambassador Abdulla Saif Alnuaimi of the UAE in Seoul (left) is interviewed by Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean media outlets since 1985.
Ambassador Abdulla Saif Alnuaimi of the UAE in Seoul (left) is interviewed by Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean media outlets since 1985.

Meeting between President Moon and Crown Prince Al Nahyan:

President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea harbors special friendly feelings toward H.H. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE. During Crown Prince Al Nahyan’s visit to Korea on Feb. 27 last year, President Moon welcomed him saying, “I hope that our two countries will further strengthen the existing cooperation and expand it into the realm of new technologies and industries.” On that occasion President Moon made the following welcoming remarks:

wholeheartedly welcome Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the members of the UAE delegation on your official visit to Korea. The Crown Prince and I met over dinner yesterday, enjoying our time together and making our two countries’ friendly, cooperative relations even firmer. It was truly meaningful.
Last March in the UAE, we both agreed to elevate bilateral ties to a special strategic partnership. am gratified that cooperation between our two nations has been developing in a wide range of areas since then and am grateful to the Crown Prince.
As a result, last year, the UAE became the largest market for Korean exporters in the Middle East and the biggest overseas market for Korean construction companies. The country also ranked first in terms of people-to-people exchanges in the region. As the UAE is the only Middle Eastern country that has established a special strategic partnership with Korea, am particularly attached to it.
hope that our two countries will further strengthen existing cooperation and expand it into the realm of new technologies and industries being pursued in response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution era, including information and communication technologies, such as 5G; artificial intelligence; robots; semiconductors; new renewable energies; and smart farms.
The Crown Prince conveyed a message of tolerance, harmony, and co-existence by arranging Pope Francis’s visit to Abu Dhabi early this month, making the UAE the first among the countries on the Arabian Peninsula to do so. Likewise, hope that the Crown Prince’s visit to Korea will also help an atmosphere of permanent peace and mutual prosperity widely disseminate on the Korean Peninsula.

 

Ambassador Abdulla Saif Alnuaimi of the UAE at a business forum.
Ambassador Abdulla Saif Alnuaimi of the UAE at a business forum.

Bilateral relations and cooperation between the UAE and the ROK:

After the establishment of the bilateral relations between the two friendly countries at the time of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, May Allah's Mercy be upon Him and the opening of the UAE embassy in Korea in 1987, the relations between the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Korea have witnessed mutual respect and shared same views and positions in many international and regional issues with a common interest.

The relations between the two countries also witnessed a huge mutual exchange of visits between top officials such as the visit of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in April 2004 along with another visit the Minister of Oil and Mineral resources and Minister of Education of the UAE to the Republic of Korea in order to develop the bilateral relations and enhance the cooperation in all fields of politics, economics, financial and it cooperation in the middle east and exchange views about all the international and regional issues.

The bilateral relations have been upgraded to a strategic partnership to include more vital areas, especially oil, renewable energy, education, training, construction and building sectors, environment, health care, shipbuilding, transport, telecommunication and IT.

 

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE Armed Forces (right) shakes hands with visiting Chief Presidential Secretary Im Jong-seok of the Republic of Korea.
Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE Armed Forces (right) shakes hands with visiting Chief Presidential Secretary Im Jong-seok of the Republic of Korea.

The UAE is considered the first country at the Middle East region to become a comprehensive Strategic Partner with the Republic of Korea. The joint cooperation and harmony in visions have emerged through the role that Korea plays beside the UAE in defending human rights and humanitarian issues and through their contribution to joint non-profitable projects.

The bilateral relations between the UAE and Korea are witnessing qualitative developments in all spheres thanks to the keenness of the leadership in both countries in this respect and to achieve a complete partnership especially in economy and investment. As a result of these efforts, the two nations have managed to make more accomplishments and to conclude more agreements that reinforce energy security and economic development to the peoples of the two nations.

These important developments in the ties of the two countries took place after the visit made to the UAE by the Lee Myung-bak, the former president of the ROK IN 2009 to sign the contract to build 4 nuclear reactors in the UAE as part of the latter's peaceful nuclear energy program and also the visit of the former president Park Geun-hye, former president of the ROK in 2015 to the UAE which resulted in signing a framework agreement to enhance the economic partnership between the two friendly countries.

 

CEO Suh Moon-dong of Tofield Co. Ltd. (left) and CEO Oh Sung-rok of C&B pose for the camera flanking Chairman Muhammed of Beyond Energy on the left and right, respectively.
CEO Suh Moon-dong of Tofield Co. Ltd. (left) and CEO Oh Sung-rok of C&B pose for the camera flanking Chairman Muhammed of Beyond Energy on the left and right, respectively.

In December, 10th of 2017, Chief Presidential Secretary Im Jeong-seok visited the UAE and met with His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces. In this meeting, ways of developing relations and enhancing cooperation between the two friendly countries and people were discussed.

For the visits from the Emeriti side to the Republic of Korea, the main visit was made by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces in May 2010, March 2012 and April 2014. Also at the beginning of this year, H.E Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, CEO of Executive Affairs Authority of Abu Dhabi visited the Republic of Korea on the head of a delegation from the Executive Affairs Authority of Abu Dhabi, Mubadala and ENEC on 8-9 January 2018. During the visit, H.E Al Mubarak had a courtesy visit with H.E Moon Jae In, the President of the ROK, accompanied by H.E Abdulla Saif Al Nuamim, Ambassador of the UAE to deliver a written message from H.H Crown Prince to the Korean President to visit the country. He also met with many officials in Korea.

 

A consortium agreement is signed between the GS Energy of Korea and the UAE Abu Dhabi Oil Company.
A consortium agreement is signed between the GS Energy of Korea and the UAE Abu Dhabi Oil Company.

The UAE's relations with Korea made such progress due mainly to the agreements related to the building of the nuclear energy stations in Abu Dhabi and the establishment of the Strategic Partnership between two countries in 2009.

UAE's exports to Korea topped US$ 6.94billion in 2016, while Korea's export to the UAE amounted to US$ 5.8 billion. Major UAE exports to Korea include crude oil, petroleum products, aluminum, and LNG. Main Korean exports to the UAE include mobile phones, electronic equipment, and automobiles.

As a result of the expansion in joint projects, the number of Korean visitors and residents in the UAE increased to 14,000, while the number of Korean firms running their businesses in the country reached 200. Thanks to the no-stop flights from Abu Dhabi and Dubai to Seoul, the economy, trade, and tourism exchanges between the two nations have witnessed great leap.

The UAE maintains a free-market economy and is also one of the most politically stable and secure in the region. This ensures that the country has a robust competitive edge as the region's premier commercial hub and second-largest economy.

 

Former Minister of Economy Sultan Bin Said Al Mansuri of the UAE
Former Minister of Economy Sultan Bin Said Al Mansuri of the UAE

Economic growth in the UAE is steady despite a short-lived hiatus as the global economy faltered. Recovery was helped by high oil prices, increased government spending, and a resurgence in tourism, transport, and trade. In addition, successful restructuring of debt owed by high-profile companies, solidarity among the emirates, and accommodative monetary and fiscal policies all played a role in bringing significant economic stability to the market.

Following the dip in 2010, UAE GDP rose to reach US$419 billion at the end of 2014, up 4.8 percent in 2013. The IMF predicts that GDP will continue to grow at a rate of 4 to 5 percent over the next seven years.

“Abu Dhabi's Economic Vision 2030 and Dubai's Strategic Plan 2015” are leading the drive towards diversification. The strategy is to increase investment in industrial and other export-oriented sectors, including heavy industry, transport, petrochemicals, tourism, information technology, telecommunications, renewable energy, aviation and space, and oil and gas services. Much has already been achieved in these fields, especially in satellite and telecommunications, the aviation sector, and in renewable energy, and although short-term priorities have been altered to accommodate changing realities, the long-term strategy remains the same.

 

Deputy Prime Minister Kim Dong-yeon (left) and Minister of Economy Sulban Bin Said Al Mansuri of the UAE shake hands with each other after signing an agreement for bilateral cooperation.
Deputy Prime Minister Kim Dong-yeon (left) and Minister of Economy Sulban Bin Said Al Mansuri of the UAE shake hands with each other after signing an agreement for bilateral cooperation.

At the federal level, the UAE is pursuing its 2021 Vision, which aims to place innovation, research, science, and technology at the center of a knowledge-based, highly productive and competitive economy by the time of the federation's golden jubilee in 2021.

Trade has played a major role in UAE economic life for many centuries. This is not altogether surprising considering the country's strategic geographical position. However, focused and far-seeing investment in airports, ports, and services, as well as an enabling business environment, has ensured that the UAE has become an important trading hub connecting regional markets to the outside world. Steady recovery of most economic sectors has also led to an increase in foreign trade. The UAE foreign trade indices bounced back in 2013 to pre-global financial crisis levels whilst bulk commodity exports, including oil, are expected to grow by 5.8 percent to US$381 billion in 2014, compared with US$354 billion in 2013.

 

President Park Sung-taek of .K-Biz Korea foundation (right) and President of Al Fajer Group of UAE
President Park Sung-taek of .K-Biz Korea foundation (right) and President of Al Fajer Group of UAE

View of the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the UAE:

The UAE is a federation of seven emirates, founded on December 2, 1971, which marks 50th anniversary of national founding next year (2021). UAE is the gateway to the Middle East and the international aviation hub country. UAE has been chosen as the best country for young Arab people to live for nine consecutive years (according to the Arab Youth Survey) for the reasons of its open economic system and the culture of tolerance.

Amid the COVID-19 global pandemic, UAE has set an example of “humanitarian solidarity” by providing medical and food supplies to over 70 countries such as Africa, Central Asia, European countries, as well as neighboring Middle Eastern countries.

In particular, 2020 is a meaningful year that marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and the UAE. Korea has a “special strategic partnership” only with the UAE among Middle Eastern and African countries. And the partnership is developing to a mature stage, befitting 40 years of relations.

 

Representative of Korea’s Himchan Hospital signs an agreement of cooperation with his UAE counterpart.
Representative of Korea’s Himchan Hospital signs an agreement of cooperation with his UAE counterpart.

In addition to the cooperation in diplomacy, defense, and energy based on solid friendship and confidence between leaders, the two countries have recently been working closely in the public health sector to respond to the COVID-19 together.

The UAE has the largest Korean community (about 13,000 people) in African and Middle Eastern countries. And the Korean Cultural Center (KCC) in Abu Dhabi, the only one in the Gulf, is organizing different programs for cultural exchange to bring the citizens of Korea and UAE to get closer to the heart.

ROK and UAE designated the year of 2020 as the “Year of Cultural Dialogue”, but considering the difficulties under the COVID-19 pandemic situation, both countries have decided to extend the period to the next year so that all the related events could be held more properly.

Korea and UAE will stay vigilant and cooperate together to curb the spread of infection of COVID-19 pandemic. Even in the midst of changes in international order due to COVID-19 pandemic, Korea and UAE will work side by side more firmly to develop win-win cooperation. The Embassy will do its utmost to support bilateral cooperation.

Abu Dhabi skyline
Abu Dhabi skyline

Resume of Ambassador Al Nuaimi of the UAE in Seoul:

Ambassador Abdulla Saif Al Nuaimi is an embodiment of exemplary Emirati talent. After completing several graduate courses in the United States, he joined the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) as a Senior Analyst specializing in the US market. From 1992 to 1997, he was responsible of analyzing US companies for investment opportunities and preparing recommendations for selling and buying shares.

In 1997, Al Nuaimi was seconded to the Privatization Committee for the Water & Electricity Sector in the Abu Dhabi Emirate, taking on the role of Director of Independent Water and Power Producers Projects (IWPP). As part of his responsibilities, he became the first Emirati to preside over a unique UAE privatization enterprise that aims to produce water and electricity in one integrated project. His success with the project was recognized with a number of awards, including the MENA Energy Sector’s coveted Power Personality of the Year for 2014.

 

Ambassador Abdulla Saif Al Nuaimi of the UAE poses with The Korea Post media Reporter Ms. Joy Cho.
Ambassador Abdulla Saif Al Nuaimi of the UAE poses with The Korea Post media Reporter Ms. Joy Cho.

In 2011, he was appointed as Managing Director of the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA), where he continues to serve as an advisor till now. In deference to his expertise and leadership in the power and water sectors, he has been nominated as Chairman of the Board for many public and private enterprises including: the Abu Dhabi Distribution Company and Al Ain Distribution Company; the Abu Dhabi Transmission & Dispatch Company (TRANSCO); Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company (ADWEC); Al Wathbah Central Services Company; and Taweelah Asia Power Company (TAPCO).

He served as Vice Chairman of the First Energy Bank; Abu Dhabi National Takaful Insurance Co. and Vice Chairman & CEO of The Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, TAQA.

In addition, Al Nuaimi has been a board member for Sohar Aluminium Company LLC; the Federal Electricity and Water Authority and Oman Insurance Company.

He was a member of the Follow-up UAE President’s Initiatives Committee until 2014 and President of the Canadian Emirati Businessmen Council.

Al Nuaimi was shortlisted for Abu Dhabi Excellence Award, administrative sector (2008/2009).

From November 2016 till present, Al Nuaimi assumes the duty as the UAE Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Korea.


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