ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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South Korean president arrives in UAE seeking to complete arms sales

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, center left, and Emirati leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan walk past an honor guard at Qasar Al Watan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, center left, and Emirati leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan walk past an honor guard at Qasar Al Watan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol receives an honor guard welcome on a trip to the United Arab Emirates as he hopes to expand his country’s military sales here.

Yoon’s visit comes as South Korea conducts business deals worth billions of dollars and stations special forces troops to defend the UAE, an arrangement that drew criticism under his liberal predecessor. Now, however, it appears the conservative leader wants to double down on those military links even as tensions with neighboring Iran have already seen Tehran seize a South Korean oil tanker in 2021.

Yoon arrives at Qasr Al Watan palace in Abu Dhabi and is greeted by Emirati leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who took office in May after serving as the country’s de facto ruler for years.

An honor guard of traditionally dressed Emiratis greet Yoon and his wife, Kim Keon Hee. After the ceremony, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quotes Sheikh Mohammed as saying the UAE plans to invest $30 billion in South Korea. “We decided to make the investment with confidence in the Republic of Korea that keeps its promises under all circumstances,” he says.

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