Sheikh Mohammed shared images from the meeting and stated that the UAE desires strategic economic cooperation with South Korea.
Moon Jae-in signs $3.5 billion missile deal with United Arab Emirates leaders
By Win Pya Pyae Phyo (Hazel), Contributor
Moon Jae-in, the president of South Korea made an official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on January 16; while there, Jae-in signed a multibillion-dollar agreement to sell Seoul’s surface-to-air missiles to the UAE government. South Korea’s president also pledged closer cooperation with the Gulf Arab federation during his visit. This tour underscored South Korea’s developing Middle East relationships and commitment to the region.
According to ABC News, after meeting with Emirati Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai, the South Korean President signed a memorandum of understanding for the UAE to purchase a $3.5 billion South Korean mid-range missile defence system. Over the last decade, the two countries have increased their defence ties, with South Korean elite special forces even deploying to the UAE to train Emirati troops in an unprecedented multi-year deployment for the Asian nation.
Sheikh Mohammed shared images from the meeting and stated that the UAE desires strategic economic cooperation with South Korea, which is one of the world’s largest oil importers and energy project financiers. There were no other contract specifics disclosed during the visit.
On January 15, President Jae-in arrived in Dubai, the regional financial centre, and was received by UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei. South Korea, which is heavily reliant on oil and gas, imports fossil fuels from the Persian Gulf, especially from oil-rich Abu Dhabi. South Korea’s energy-intensive economy is dominated by manufacturing industries including automobiles and petrochemicals. Seoul not only buys Emirati oil, but it has also helped expand Emirati oil resources to increase the Asian country’s self-sufficiency and, more importantly, built the UAE’s Barakah nuclear power station, the first on the Arabian Peninsula. According to 2019 statistics from the United States Energy Information Administration, the UAE accounts for 8% of Seoul’s oil imports.
In late 2021, during the South Korean trade minister’s visit to the UAE, the two nations began talks on a new bilateral trade agreement, which included commitments to create sustainable energy sources. Moon met with an Emirati business group on January 17 to discuss hydrogen fuel. South Korea, a non-oil-producing country, has traditionally relied on Middle Eastern allies to supply much of the oil it needs to fulfil its energy demands and supply its vast refining sector; additionally, this has provided opportunities to create alliances in the region by assisting nations experiencing humanitarian crises, such as Iraq and Syria.
According to the Associated Press, on January 16 at Expo, another South Korean product grabbed centre stage. A slew of famous K-pop bands, including Psy and Stray Kids, played catchy songs with dynamic dance movements for a crowd of frantic fans who braved the rain to queue for hours to see them. Even as virus cases in the UAE soar, hundreds of teens jammed up against one other and danced.