SEOUL -- The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has decided to invest $30 billion (about 37 trillion won) in South Korea’s nuclear power, energy and defense sectors, the presidential office said on January 15.
The decision came during a summit between President Yoon Suk-yeol and his UAE counterpart Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi.
The office quoted the UAE president as telling Yoon that the Middle Eastern country has made the investment decision with confidence in the Republic of Korea that keeps its promise without fail.
President Yoon is visiting the UAE from January 14 to 17 to step up economic cooperation between the two countries which set up “special strategic partnership relations” in 2018. The UAE is the only Middle Eastern country that has established such close ties with South Korea.
Yoon is the first Korean head of state to make a state visit to the UAE since the two countries forged diplomatic ties in 1980. He is scheduled to visit the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant, a symbol of Korea’s first export of nuclear reactors. Two reactors are in commercial operation and the third reactor will be completed this year, while the fourth and last one is under construction.
The presidential office said that Yoon selected the UAE as his first overseas destination this year in order to increase exports and speed up an economic recovery. It is expected that his trip will help Korea enjoy a "second Middle East boom."
"The investment will be made evenly across the areas of strategic cooperation between the two countries, including in nuclear power, arms, hydrogen and solar energy," Kim Eun-hye, senior presidential secretary for press affairs, said.
Both countries and their companies signed 13 memorandums of understanding (MOUs) in the presence of the two leaders during their summit at the Qasr Al Watan presidential palace in Abu Dhabi. The MOUs are focused on strengthening collaboration in nuclear power generation, hydrogen and solar energy, and defense sectors.
The 13 included a "sovereign investment partnership" MOU initialed by Korea Development Bank (KDB) and Mubadala Investment Company, a state-owned UAE holding firm, to jointly invest in promising Korean firms. Korea Eximbank also signed an MOU with the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, or TAQA, on financial cooperation to help more Korean firms participate in the latter’s energy projects.
Besides, the two countries adopted a joint declaration on expanding strategic energy partnership to achieve a net-zero goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to almost nil. The declaration called for Korea and the UAE to jointly construct nuclear power plants in other countries.
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