President Yoon Suk-yeol is set to become the first South Korean leader to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1980 as he departed for Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
His four-day-visit is part of a two-nation swing focused on promoting South Korean exports especially in energy and arms, reports Yonhap News Agency.
Yoon is scheduled to meet UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as well as visit the Akh unit, a South Korean military contingent, and the Barakah nuclear power plant built by South Korea, a symbolic measure reaffirming his commitment to scrapping the nuclear phase-out policy of his predecessor Moon Jae-in.
The two sides are reportedly in the final stages of concluding around 30 memorandums of understanding involving the governments and the private sector, with energy, arms and investment among the key areas of cooperation.
A senior presidential official said an announcement is planned for a deal to export South Korean arms to the UAE.
“The atmosphere is extremely ripe for security or military cooperation between South Korea and the UAE involving the arms industry,” the official said.
Yoon will also be accompanied by a business delegation made up of officials from some 100 South Korean companies, supporting their expansion into the UAE and discussing possibilities for cooperation with UAE sovereign wealth funds.
From the UAE, Yoon will travel to Zurich, Switzerland, on January 17 and meet South Korean residents in the city before travelling to Davos to attend the World Economic Forum from January 18-19.