South Korea, UAE summit to focus on defence, energy and investment

By Thomson Reuters May 28, 2024 | 9:12 PM

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol will host United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at a summit on Wednesday, with talks expected to focus on business and investment, energy and cooperation in the defence sector.

At a ceremony ahead of the summit, the UAE president is due to be welcomed by a flypast of Air Force jets, as South Korea seeks to tap the energy-rich Gulf state’s investment potential.

The summit comes after Yoon’s state visit to Abu Dhabi early last year, when the UAE pledged $30 billion in investment in South Korean businesses in areas spanning nuclear power, defence, hydrogen and solar energy.

The leaders are due to attend the signing of agreements and memoranda of understanding following the summit, Yoon’s office said, without providing details.

The two will discuss deepening their “special strategic partnership,” Yoon’s office said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Sheikh Mohammed met the leaders of some of South Korea’s top conglomerates including Jay Y. Lee of Samsung Electronics, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won and Kim Dong-kwan of Hanwha Group, which has emerged as a major defence contractor.

South Korea has signed a series of global defence equipment contracts as part of plans to become the world’s fourth-largest defence exporter by 2027. Recent deals include one with Poland, which is seeking to bolster its defences as a close neighbour of Ukraine, which is at war with Russia.

(Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Ed Davies)