South Korea’s leader caps off a whirlwind week after securing tens of billions of dollars in investment from the Middle East and vowing to allow his country to play a more important role in revitalizing international supply chains.
On Monday, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol announced that the United Arab Emirates had pledged no less than $ 30 billion in investments in the Asian country.
The news came after the leaders of the two nations held talks in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, during a landmark trip that marked the first-ever state visit by a South Korean president to the UAE, according to a statement from Yoon’s office.
The investment is aimed at increased cooperation in nuclear, hydrogen and solar power, as well as defense, along with an agreement to form a “special strategic partnership” at the highest level, the statement said.
Yoon was joined in the region by a delegation of Korean magnates, including the billionaires of Samsung, Hyundai Motors (HYMTF) and SK Group. In all, representatives from about 100 South Korean companies traveled with the president, his agency said.
During the four-day visit, two dozen deals worth $6.1 billion were signed on nuclear, defense and green energy signed by companies from both sides, the South Korean government said.
Some South Korean companies also agreed to build tomato and strawberry farms in the UAE, a country heavily dependent on agricultural imports.
The wave of deals came just days before Yoon addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he discussed the importance of restoring global supply chains.
“The most pressing task of our time is to strengthen the resilience of the supply chain based on mutual solidarity,” he said in a speech on Thursday, referring to recent disruptions in the supply of food, energy, computer chips, vaccines and medicines. noticed all over the world.
“The pandemic, geopolitical conflicts, the rivalry for technological hegemony and the weakening multilateral trading system have led to the fragmentation of the global supply chain, reshaping it,” Yoon continued, adding that the war in Ukraine had made the situation aggravated.
The president said the issue had led to a “trend of bloc-building between countries”, with international cooperation “increasingly seen as a package deal”.
“Building walls and strengthening protectionism cannot be the right answer,” Yoon added.
Going forward, South Korea will be “an important partner in the global supply chain,” using its expertise in sectors such as semiconductors and steel manufacturing to help stabilize supply chains, he promised. “We will align and cooperate with mutually trusted countries.”