South Korea’s leader capped off a whirlwind week after securing tens of billions of dollars in investment from the Middle East and vowing to give his country a bigger role in reviving international supply chains.
On Monday, South Korean President Yoon Hee-yeol announced that the United Arab Emirates had pledged a staggering $30 billion in investment to the Asian country.
The announcement follows talks between the two leaders in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, a landmark visit that marks the first state visit to the UAE by a South Korean president, according to a statement from Yoon’s office.
The investment was aimed at strengthening cooperation in nuclear energy, hydrogen and solar energy, and defense, the statement said, agreeing to a “special strategic partnership” at the highest level.
Joining Yoon in the region was a delegation of South Korean tycoons, including the billionaire leaders of Samsung, Hyundai Motor (HYMTF) and SK Group. In all, representatives of about 100 South Korean companies accompanied him, according to his office.
Two dozen deals worth $6.1 billion were struck during the four-day visit, covering nuclear power, defense and green energy Companies from the two countries signed the agreement, according to the South Korean government.
some korean companies It also agreed to build tomato and strawberry farms in the United Arab Emirates, which relies heavily on agricultural imports.
The flurry of deals comes just days before Yoon spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he discussed the importance of fixing global supply chains.
“The most urgent task of our time is to strengthen the resilience of supply chains based on reciprocal solidarity,” he said in a speech on Thursday, pointing to recent disruptions in global supplies of food, energy, computer chips, vaccines and medicines.
“The fragmentation of global supply chains by the pandemic, geopolitical conflicts, competition for technological supremacy, and weakening of the multilateral trading system has led to their reshaping,” Yoon continued, adding that the Ukraine war has exacerbated the situation.
The problem, the president said, has led to “a tendency to form blocs among countries” and international cooperation “is increasingly seen as a package deal.”
“Building walls and increasing protectionism cannot be the right answer,” Yoon added.
Going forward, he promised, South Korea “will be an important partner in global supply chains,” using its expertise in areas such as semiconductors and steelmaking to help stabilize supply chains. “We will align and cooperate with countries that trust each other.”