Hong Kong / Seoul
The South Korean leader is closing a stormy week, after he secured tens of billions of dollars in investments from the Middle East, and pledged that his country would play a more important role in revitalizing international supply chains.
South Korean President Yoon Sok Yul announced on Monday that the United Arab Emirates has pledged a staggering $30 billion in investments in the Asian country.
The news came after the leaders of the two countries held talks in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, on a historic trip that marks the first state visit by a South Korean president to the UAE, according to a statement from Yoon’s office.
The statement indicated that the investment aims to increase cooperation in the fields of nuclear, hydrogen and solar energy, as well as defense, along with an agreement to form a “special strategic partnership” at the highest level.
Yoon was joined in the area by a delegation of top Korean businessmen, including billionaire leaders from Samsung, Hyundai Motors (HYMTF) and SK Group. In total, representatives from about 100 South Korean companies traveled with the president, according to his office.
During the four-day visit, 24 agreements worth $6.1 billion covering nuclear energy, defense and green energy were struck Signed by companies from both sides, according to the South Korean government.
Some South Korean companies He also agreed to build tomato and strawberry farms in the UAE, which relies heavily on imports of agricultural products.
The series of deals came just days before Yoon’s speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he discussed the importance of reforming global supply chains.
“The most urgent task of our time is to enhance supply chain resilience based on mutual solidarity,” he said in a speech on Thursday, referring to recent disruptions to the supply of food, energy, computer chips, vaccines and pharmaceuticals around the world.
“The pandemic, geopolitical conflicts, competition for technological dominance, and the weakness of the multilateral trading system have fragmented the global supply chain, leading to its reconfiguration,” Yun continued, adding that the war in Ukraine has exacerbated the situation.
The president said the issue had led to “a trend of bloc formation between nations,” with international cooperation “increasingly as a package deal.”
“Building walls and ramping up protectionism cannot be the right solution,” Yun added.
Going forward, South Korea “will be a key partner in the global supply chain,” using its expertise in sectors such as semiconductors and the steel industry to help stabilize supply chains, he pledged. “We will cooperate and cooperate with countries that are mutually trustworthy.”