Briefing Room

2023 Jan. 18

President Yoon tells global CEOs 'Korea and my office are open'

President Yoon Suk Yeol on Jan. 18 in Davos, Switzerland, urged the CEOs of world-leading corporations to invest more in Korea, saying, "The Korean market is open and so is my office, so please visit any time." Senior Secretary to the President for Public Relations Kim Eun-hye said in a news release that President Yoon in the afternoon made the statement at a luncheon he hosted at a hotel in Davos. He is in the city to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF), also known as the Davos Forum. Inviting leading domestic and foreign entrepreneurs who are in Davos for WEF, the luncheon was arranged to allow discussion of solutions to global issues such as supply chain stability, digital transformation and response to climate change, as well as desirable relations between the government and private sector. Calling himself "the Republic of Korea's No. 1 salesperson," the president said, "I arranged this event because I consider it my moral duty as the Republic of Korea's salesperson to meet global entrepreneurs and have lunch with them." Blackstone Chairman and CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman called Korea a business-friendly country good for conducting business over his 25 years of working in Korea, and said the president is a great salesman with as much salesmanship as Blackstone's. IBM Chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna said Korea's strong IT services is of great help in making global advances, adding that Korea and the U.S. could dominate the global market if they cooperate in quantum computing. Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon said that in doing business in Korea for more than 30 years, Korean corporations have shown true innovation and he hoped for cooperation with Korean businesses over the next 30 years as a long-term partner. Benoit Potier, board chairman of French industrial gas giant Air Liquide, hailed Korea as a country playing a crucial role in all sectors and a place where everything is possible including hydrogen, semiconductors and health care. Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, CEO and managing director of Mubadala Investment of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said his country made a difficult decision 14 years ago in nuclear energy by selecting Korea for its project. The UAE fielded bids from the U.S., Japan and France in the sector, he said, but his country decided to partner up with Korea based on data despite Korea having no experience in exporting nuclear power plants at the time. Based on that criteria, he added, the UAE evaluated its partner's innovative capacity, skills and implementation ability and ultimately got everything it wanted from the partnership. He said he directly experienced Korea for 14 years in innovation, execution ability, engineering technology, energy conversion, R&D and human resource development. Al Mubarak said the fourth nuclear reactor will soon be commercialized and thousands of engineers will develop the latest nuclear reactor and produce electricity at the lowest cost with the world's highest efficiency. Secretary Kim said, "The CEOs who attended today include those considered the most powerful in global finance by Forbes magazine and those on Time magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people." "It's hard to find a precedent of world-leading CEOs of business groups, the Republic of Korea president, deputy prime minister for economy and finance, members of the State Council and other high-ranking government officials gathered in one place to discuss Korea's future." Korean entrepreneurs who attended the luncheon included Samsung Electronics Executive Chairman Lee Jae-yong, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Eui-sun, LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo, Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin and Hanwha Group Vice Chairman Kim Dong-kwan. Their foreign counterparts were CEOs of global corporations from a range of sectors like Intel, IBM, Qualcomm, JP Morgan, Mubadala Investment, Blackstone, Bank of America, Vista Equity Partners, Hitachi, Shell, Air Liquide, Total, Nestle, TPG and Lippo. The luncheon ran for about 100 minutes, almost 20 minutes over the scheduled time. 

2023 Jan. 17

President Yoon arrives in Switzerland for World Economic Forum

President Yoon Suk Yeol on Jan. 17 arrived in Switzerland after making a four-day state visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Arriving in the afternoon at Zurich Airport in Zurich on the presidential plane Code One, he will deliver a special address at the World Economic Forum, also known as the Davos Forum. Senior Secretary to the President for Public Relations Kim Eun-hye said in a written briefing that as the final event of his trip to the UAE, President Yoon discussed bilateral cooperation with UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at Zabeel Palace in Dubai. The president told Vice President Mohammed, who is also the ruler of Dubai, "It is impressive to see Dubai achieving innovative development," adding, "Let Korea and the UAE not only practice bilateral cooperation but also jointly contribute to issues of common interest to all humanity." "Korea and Dubai both overcame a host of difficulties to achieve the Miracle of the Hangang River and Miracle of the Desert, respectively" he said, adding that to respond to global uncertainty, both countries must strengthen their special strategic partnership. "Korean companies have contributed to Dubai's development by actively participating in construction and infrastructure projects there, so please support these companies so that they can actively take part in major economic projects in Dubai down the road." "To implement the UAE and Dubai's grand vision Projects of the 50, I am confident that Korea can be the closest and most trustworthy companion ("rafiq" in Arabic)," President Yoon added. "For this, I look forward to working closely with Vice President and Prime Minister Mohammed." Vice President Mohammed said, "In the process of advancing toward our goal of developing Dubai into one of the world's top three cities by 2033, Korea will be a core partner." Hailing Korean companies in Dubai as having the best capacities, he added, "I hope that Korean companies continue to actively advance to Dubai and contribute to the economic development of both countries."

2023 Jan. 15

Korea, UAE pledge to boost strategic partnership in statement

President Yoon Suk Yeol on Jan. 15 adopted a joint statement with United Arab Emirates (UAE) President, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on the occasion of President Yoon's state visit to the Mideast country. Korean media including Yonhap News said both leaders in the statement agreed to further deepen and develop their "special strategic partnership." The two sides agreed to bolster strategic cooperation in the four core sectors of the peaceful use of nuclear energy, conventional and clean energy, economy and investment, and defense and defense technology. The UAE side said in the statement, "As part of the wider Special Strategic Partnership framework, and building on the UAE's confidence in the ROK's (Republic of Korea) economic strength and growth prospects, the UAE announced a commitment by its sovereign wealth funds to invest $30 billion in strategic sectors in the Republic of Korea." In conventional energy, Seoul and Abu Dhabi agreed to form a comprehensive strategic energy partnership to strengthen cooperation in key energy sectors including oil and gas, strategic crude oil reserves, renewable energy, and hydrogen and hydrogen by-products. The two leaders agreed that the peaceful use of nuclear energy is a core pillar of bilateral cooperation. The UAE praised the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant, saying the project is "dramatically accelerating the decarbonisation of the UAE's power sector in support of the latter's pledge to reach Net Zero by 2050." Both sides also agreed to expand cooperation to new fields such as small modular reactors through a high-level bilateral talks on nuclear power. They pledged stronger strategic cooperation in future-oriented sectors like space and new industries such as culture, health and medicine, and culture and human exchange. In the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and digital innovation, the two governments agreed to closely cooperate in joint research and human exchange in information and communications technology including artificial intelligence, data and networks. To expand public-private cooperation in sectors like digital transformation, mobility and aerospace, parts and materials, and supply chain stability, they agreed to launch a strategic partnership in industry and advanced technology and announced a joint initiative for cooperation in advanced manufacturing. For the peaceful and sustainable use of space, the two countries agreed to develop cooperation in the sector in a mutually beneficial manner. To this end, they agreed to amend a bilateral memorandum of understanding on space cooperation and expand the scope of cooperation between the Korean Ministry of Science and ICT and the UAE Space Agency to additional sectors like space exploration, satellite-based global navigation systems and earth observation. To respond to climate change and enhance food security, both countries agreed to bolster cooperation in smart farming in agricultural sectors such as smart greenhouses. To tackle water shortages and maintain stable crop production, they will strengthen cooperation to achieve the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 6 of seeking "clean water and sanitation for all." Increased cooperation in water resources will include collaboration in desalination, smart water management, wastewater treatment, management of natural water resources, and cooperation in international initiatives for water scarcity. Korea and the UAE will also work closely together to respond to climate change through efforts like collaboration in Abu Dhabi's hosting of the 28th session of the Conference of Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) scheduled from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12. President Yoon visited the Barakah plant to attend a ceremony marking the completion of Unit 3, took part in Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and UAE-Korea Business Forum, and attended the Dubai Future Forum in Dubai. After completing his state visit to the UAE, he will fly to Switzerland on Jan. 17 to attend the World Economic Forum, aka the Davos Forum.

2023 Jan. 15

UAE pledges USD 30B investment in Korea after bilateral summit

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has pledged investment of USD 30 billion (KRW 37.26 trillion) in Korea, the Office of the President in Seoul said on Jan. 15. Senior Secretary to the President for Public Relations Kim Eun-hye in a written briefing said, "The investment was decided during a summit between President Yoon Suk Yeol and UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan." President Mohammed was quoted as saying, "We have decided on the investment of USD 30 billion based on the trustworthiness of Korea, a nation that keeps its promises no matter the situation," adding "This state visit by President Yoon will become a historic opportunity for bilateral relations." President Yoon responded by saying, "As president, I will look carefully after this investment so that it plays a big role in not only return on investment but also the UAE's mid- to long-term sustainable development," adding, "I will not forget your trust." During this summit, the two leaders attended the signings of 13 bilateral memorandums of understanding in nuclear power, energy, investment, the defense industry and climate change. At their talks hosted by the presidential palace in Abu Dhabi, both presidents also agreed to develop their nations' "special strategic partnership" to the highest level. President Yoon said, "I am delighted to visit the UAE on my first overseas tour of 2023 to hold a summit with President Mohammed," adding, "This first state visit since the inception of diplomatic ties in 1980 shows the strong commitment of both countries to develop bilateral relations." "I expect this summit to serve as an important starting point for the elevation of the 'special strategic partnership' between Korea and the UAE to the highest level by strengthening strategic cooperation in the four core cooperative sectors of nuclear power, energy, investment and defense, as well as future cooperative fields like new industries; health and medical care; and cultural and human exchanges." President Mohamed actively expressed his agreement, saying he strongly hopes to expand his nation's partnership with Korea. He also said the UAE is prepared for groundbreaking expansion of cooperation with Korea in every sector including the peaceful use of nuclear power; new and renewable energy sources; hydrogen; defense technology; climate change; space; digital transformation; high-tech infrastructure; smart agriculture; food security; and water resources. President Yoon is the first world leader to pay a state visit to the UAE since President Mohammed was inaugurated in May last year. President Mohammed greeted his Korean counterpart with an official welcoming ceremony on a large scale that included an air show before their summit, signifying the UAE's highest honor for the Korean leader.

2023 Jan. 11

President Yoon to make 1st overseas tour of new year to UAE, Switzerland

President Yoon Suk Yeol from Jan. 14 will leave for an eight-day visit of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Switzerland in his first overseas tour of the new year. Director of National Security Kim Sung-han and Senior Presidential Secretary for Economic Affairs Choi Sang-mok on the afternoon of Jan. 10 announced the itinerary of the president's trip in a briefing at the Office of the President in Seoul's Yongsan-gu District. President Yoon from Jan. 14-17 will make a state visit to the UAE, the only Mideast country to have a "special strategic partnership" with Korea formed in 2018, at the invitation of UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. President Yoon will be Korea's first leader to make a state visit to the UAE since both countries established bilateral ties in 1980. President Yoon will hold a summit with his UAE counterpart and attend a state luncheon. He will also visit the Korean military contingent Akh Unit near Abu Dhabi and a nuclear power plant in Barakah and attend events related to finance and energy. Accompanying the president will be a business delegation including the CEOs of major domestic corporations and representing around 100 companies. Using this visit as an opportunity, the two countries will sign several memorandums of understanding and discuss contracts for defense exports. Director Kim said, "Selection of the Middle East for his first tour of the year reflected President Yoon's intent to stimulate the economy and expand exports," adding, "This visit will strengthen strategic cooperation with our brother country UAE in the four core cooperative sectors of nuclear power, energy, investment and defense." On Jan. 17, the president will head to Switzerland to attend the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, also called the Davos Forum named for the Swiss city where the event is held. Through his special address at the forum on Jan. 19, he will propose measures for global cooperation and solidarity to strengthen supply chains, make the transition to clean energy and build a digital order, while also introducing to the international community Korea's role in supporting these ideas. Earlier on Jan. 18, the president will hold talks in Davos with CEOs of major companies in and out of Korea on Seoul's plan for solidarity and cooperation with the private sector to overcome complex crises and achieve sustainable growth, as well as economic policies and investment issues in Korea. Attending this discussion will be Samsung Electronics Executive Chairman Lee Jae-yong; SK Group Chairman Choi Tae-won; Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Eui-sun; LG Group Chairman Koo Gwang-mo; Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin; and Hanhwa Solutions Vice Chairman Kim Dong-kwan, along with the heads of global corporations like Intel, IBM, Qualcomm, J.P. Morgan, Sony and Mubadala Investment Company. President Yoon will also attend a meeting of ethnic Korean residents in Switzerland and the event "Korea Night" to promote Busan's bid to host the 2030 World Expo. His final schedule before returning home is a visit to ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) to discuss cooperation in science and technology with quantum technology scholars.