Relations between the UAE and South Korea are historic and date back three decades. The secret behind these strong relations lie in two common factors; first is that both countries’ development plans focus on their respective people. Education, health, humanitarian and lifestyle concerns and issues are always given priority by these countries. The second factor is the mutual trust and respect between the leadership and people of these countries, wherein both sides appreciate the other’s efforts and experiences. This is what makes the joint work between both countries run smoothly and quickly.
The UAE has a strategic vision for its relations with South Korea, regardless of the leader of that country or of the ruling party. The interest of the two states and their people remain at the heart of decision making on both sides. This is reflected in the number of projects undertaken by the two states. It is also noteworthy that the UAE was the first country in the region to have relations with the Republic of Korea. Thus, it is not strange when His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, spoke with the current President of the Republic of Korea by phone and congratulated him on winning last year's elections.
The UAE-Korea relations are strong and would be further strengthened after the current visit of President Moon Jae-in, especially as South Korea had expressed its desire to develop the strategic relationship between the two countries to “special strategic partnership,” which would make cooperation between the two countries more distinctive and advanced.
As for the economic aspect, partnership has strengthened, particularly in the energy, investment and technology sectors. The UAE-Korean joint economic committee enhances economic collaboration in different fields.
The number of South Koreans visiting the UAE over the last decade and the UAE's investment in South Korea have both significantly increased. This underscores the growing understanding, friendship and trust between the two countries. The South Korean President considered this a positive sign and noted: “All this would be a strong base that would support the development of relations between both countries to turn from ‘companion’ to ‘brother’ in the next 100 years journey.”
Both the UAE and South Korea have succeeded in achieving their dreams in a short time, and have become developed countries within a few decades. This is all thanks to right planning, hard work, focus on building a strong economy, and above all because of believing in human capabilities.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Mohammed Al-Hammadi is the Editor-in-Chief of Al Ittihad newspaper and Executive Director of editing and publishing at the Abu Dhabi Media Company. He founded and was Editor-in-Chief of the Arabic edition of National Geographic magazine, and has held numerous positions in journalism since joining Al Ittihad in 1994. Al-Hammadi has been a columnist for more than 15 years, including writing a daily column for seven years and producing a weekly political column in Al Ittihad since 2001. He has also worked as a parliamentary editor for seven years, covering the proceedings of the Federal National Council in the United Arab Emirates. In addition to being an active participant on social networks, Al-Hammadi has an interest in new media and is currently working on a project to ease the transition from traditional to digital and smart media. Al-Hammadi has received numerous awards and is a member of a number of organizations and federations. He features regularly in broadcast media as a regional political commentator and has authored several books including Time of Ordeal (2008), The UAE Democracy (2009) and The Fall of the Muslim Brotherhood (2016). Twitter: @MEalhammadi.