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South Korean president travels to UAE, seeks arms gross sales

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol acquired an honor guard welcome Sunday on a visit to the United Arab Emirates as he hopes to increase its navy gross sales right here.

Yoon’s go to comes as South Korea conducts enterprise offers value billions of {dollars} and stations particular forces troops to defend the UAE, an association that drew criticism below his liberal predecessor. Now, nonetheless, it seems the conservative chief needs to double down on these navy hyperlinks whilst tensions with neighboring Iran have already seen Tehran seize a South Korean oil tanker in 2021.

“I believe that the state of affairs within the Middle East is altering very quickly on the subject of geopolitics,” stated June Park, a fellow with the International Strategy Forum at Schmidt Futures. “So Korea needs to verify a number of the strategic partnerships and the elements … with the UAE” stay robust.

Yoon arrived at Qasr Al Watan palace in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. He was greeted by Emirati chief Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who took workplace in May after serving because the nation’s de facto ruler for years.

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South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, center left, and Emirati leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan walk past an honor guard at Qasar Al Watan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023. Yoon received an honor guard welcome Sunday on a trip to the United Arab Emirates, where Seoul hopes to expand its military sales while finishing its construction of the Arabian Peninsula's first nuclear power plant. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, heart left, and Emirati chief Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan stroll previous an honor guard at Qasar Al Watan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023. Yoon acquired an honor guard welcome Sunday on a visit to the United Arab Emirates, the place Seoul hopes to increase its navy gross sales whereas ending its building of the Arabian Peninsula’s first nuclear energy plant. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
(AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

An honor guard of historically dressed Emiratis greeted Yoon and his spouse, Kim Keon Hee. They twirled mannequin Lee-Enfield rifles alongside troops on camelback and horseback. Inside, a navy band performed the South Korean and Emirati nationwide anthems.

After the ceremony, South Korea’s Yonhap information company quoted Sheikh Mohammed as saying the UAE deliberate to take a position $30 billion in South Korea. “We determined to make the funding with confidence within the Republic of Korea that retains its guarantees below all circumstances,” he stated.

The report didn’t elaborate.

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South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, center left, and Emirati leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan walk past an honor guard at Qasar Al Watan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023. Yoon received an honor guard welcome Sunday on a trip to the United Arab Emirates, where Seoul hopes to expand its military sales while finishing its construction of the Arabian Peninsula's first nuclear power plant. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, heart left, and Emirati chief Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan stroll previous an honor guard at Qasar Al Watan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023. Yoon acquired an honor guard welcome Sunday on a visit to the United Arab Emirates, the place Seoul hopes to increase its navy gross sales whereas ending its building of the Arabian Peninsula’s first nuclear energy plant. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
(AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

While energy-hungry South Korea does depend on the Emirates for just below 10% of its crude oil provide, Seoul has struck a collection of offers far past oil with this nation of seven sheikhdoms that carefully tie the nation to Abu Dhabi. South Korea’s commerce with the UAE is into the billions of {dollars} value of vehicles, materials and different items.

The significance of the journey for Seoul may very well be seen within the South Korean enterprise leaders attending a camel meat luncheon on the palace. Those there included Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Euisun Chung, Samsung Electronics Executive Chairman Lee Jae-yong and SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won.

Before Yoon’s journey, officers described the go to as looking for to solidify the ties already in place between the 2 nations.

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South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, center, and Emirati leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, right, attend a ceremony at Qasar Al Watan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023. Yoon received an honor guard welcome Sunday on a trip to the United Arab Emirates, where Seoul hopes to expand its military sales while finishing its construction of the Arabian Peninsula's first nuclear power plant. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, heart, and Emirati chief Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, proper, attend a ceremony at Qasar Al Watan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023. Yoon acquired an honor guard welcome Sunday on a visit to the United Arab Emirates, the place Seoul hopes to increase its navy gross sales whereas ending its building of the Arabian Peninsula’s first nuclear energy plant. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
(AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

“This go to will strengthen strategic cooperation with our brother nation UAE within the 4 core cooperative sectors of nuclear energy, power, funding and protection,” stated Kim Sung-han, director of nationwide safety in Yoon’s authorities.

On Saturday, Yonhap quoted an nameless presidency official as additionally saying that an arms deal was deliberate.

“The environment is extraordinarily ripe for safety or navy cooperation between South Korea and the UAE involving the arms trade,” the official stated, in line with Yonhap.

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South Korean first lady Kim Keon Hee listens to a military band at Qasar Al Watan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol received an honor guard welcome Sunday on a trip to the United Arab Emirates, where Seoul hopes to expand its military sales while finishing its construction of the Arabian Peninsula's first nuclear power plant. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

South Korean first woman Kim Keon Hee listens to a navy band at Qasar Al Watan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol acquired an honor guard welcome Sunday on a visit to the United Arab Emirates, the place Seoul hopes to increase its navy gross sales whereas ending its building of the Arabian Peninsula’s first nuclear energy plant. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
(AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

Already, South Korea reached a $3.5 billion cope with the UAE in 2022 to promote the M-SAM, a sophisticated air protection system designed to intercept missiles at altitudes beneath 40 kilometers (25 miles). Emirati officers have grown more and more involved about defending their airspace after being focused in long-range drone assaults by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

While U.S. forces fired Patriot missiles for the primary time in fight because the 2003 Iraq invasion to defend Abu Dhabi throughout these assaults, the Emiratis have been hedging their reliance on American navy assist since America’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

But South Korea’s greatest mission stays the Barakah nuclear energy plant, Seoul’s first try to construct atomic reactors overseas. The $20 billion facility, which finally could have 4 reactors, is within the UAE’s western deserts close to the Saudi border and someday will account for practically 1 / 4 of the entire Emirates’ energy wants.

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South Korean first lady Kim Keon Hee and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol listen to a military band at Qasar Al Watan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023. Yoon received an honor guard welcome Sunday on a trip to the United Arab Emirates, where Seoul hopes to expand its military sales while finishing its construction of the Arabian Peninsula's first nuclear power plant. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

South Korean first woman Kim Keon Hee and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol take heed to a navy band at Qasar Al Watan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023. Yoon acquired an honor guard welcome Sunday on a visit to the United Arab Emirates, the place Seoul hopes to increase its navy gross sales whereas ending its building of the Arabian Peninsula’s first nuclear energy plant. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
(AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

It’s additionally key to the UAE’s plans to go carbon impartial by 2050, a pledge that takes on particular significance because it prepares to host the United Nations COP28 local weather negotiations starting in November in Dubai.

Yoon possible needs to guarantee the Emiratis that South Korea needs to be within the operating for profitable upkeep contracts after his predecessor, President Moon Jae-in, had stated Seoul wished to maneuver away from nuclear power.

“The power coverage took on a 180 diploma shift” after the election, stated Park, the analyst. “So Korea is now for nuclear and I assume that the Yoon administration needs to verify to the Emiratis that there isn’t any concern concerning coverage shifts or something like that.”

Then there’s additionally the nuclear tensions with North Korea. Yoon, a former prime prosecutor, grew to become president in May on a promise to take a tougher line on Pyongyang. Up till current years, lots of of North Korean laborers have been believed to be working within the UAE and elsewhere within the Gulf Arab states, providing a money stream to Pyongyang because it seeks to evade mounting sanctions over its nuclear program.

However, a crackdown has seen their numbers drastically drop as nations stopped renewing their visas. A current U.N. professional report did observe that high-end digital camera gear purchased within the UAE ended up in North Korea, whereas one other talked about a North Korean nationwide residing in Dubai acquiring international foreign money by a web-based app by mendacity about his nationality.

The U.N. additionally stated as lately as 2021 it had details about North Korean diplomats in Iran flying on Dubai-based long-haul service Emirates smuggling gold with them.

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