UPDATE : 2019.7.17 WED 17:50
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Leaders of S. Korea, UAE to hold summit, seek to improve ties

South Korean President Moon Jae-in was set to hold talks with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi here Sunday to discuss ways to improve their countries' bilateral ties and boost economic cooperation, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.

The summit between Moon and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan will be the first of its kind since Moon took office in May 2017.

Moon arrived here Saturday on an official visit that will also include a meeting with Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, prime minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and ruler of Dubai.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) speaks with UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei after arriving at Abu Dhabi International Airport on March 24, 2018, on a four-day official visit that will include a bilateral summit with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi. (Yonhap)

His visit is largely aimed at improving the countries' ties, which were upgraded to a strategic partnership in 2009 when Seoul secured a project worth nearly US$19 billion to build four nuclear reactors in the UAE's Barakah. The countries first established diplomatic ties in 1980.

"I hope my visit will help enhance my friendship and trust with Crown Prince Mohammed," Moon said. "I seek to discuss concrete and practical ways to increase the countries' cooperation so they can together create a 'miracle of co-existence'," Moon said earlier in an interview with Wakalat Anba'a al Emarat, or Emirates News Agency.

Moon's visit here also follows an exchange of special envoys between the two countries. Moon sent his chief of staff Im Jong-seok to meet the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, who later sent Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority of Abu Dhabi, as his special envoy to South Korea.

During Khaldoon's trip to Seoul, the countries agreed to launch the so-called Two Plus Two dialogue involving their top foreign and defense officials. Seoul officials have noted such dialogues are normally held only between allies.

The South Korean president will head to Dubai for his meeting with the UAE prime minister on Tuesday, one day after traveling to the site of the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant.

He will head home Tuesday, ending his four-day visit here, according to his office Cheong Wa Dae. (Yonhap)

Kim Sua  edt@koreapost.com

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