His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received on Tuesday, the South Korean Minister of National Defense, Song Young-moo, UAE national news agency WAM reported.
Both sides discussed relations between the UAE and South Korea and means of developing them to serve the interests of the two friendly nations. They also reviewed areas of coordination between the two countries in a number of military and defense affairs.
Earlier, UAE Minister of State for Defense Affairs Mohammed Al Bowardi welcomed the visiting South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo and his accompanying delegation.
The South Korean Defense Minister left for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday for a four-day visit to discuss ways to strengthen military cooperation, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
Song is expected to focus on follow-up measures to an agreement reached between President Moon Jae-in and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi in late March.
Song plans to discuss cooperation on arms development with his UAE counterpart, Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi. He is also expected to make a courtesy call to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
“The two sides will push to enhance cooperation with an aim of forging a comprehensive cooperative system for defense industry and technology encompassing technology cooperation, personnel exchanges and education and training, as discussed in the summit talks,” South Korea’s Defense Ministry said.
The Minister is accompanied by Jeon Jei-guk, Minister of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, and Nam Sae-kyu, President of the Agency for Defense Development.
The 138-strong Akh unit has been stationed in Abu Dhabi since January 2011 to help train UAE troops and protect Korean residents in case of an armed conflict.
Moon insisted that the unit and its service members are greatly contributing to national security though they are overseas.
“The objective of our military, regardless to say, is to ensure security. And to us, security means not only maintaining peace but also making peace, and supporting the country’s prosperity,” the South Korean President said.
“To this end, we must build a strong military, a military that is trusted by the people in the nation and that works overseas to secure the support of the international community. In that sense, the Akh unit is playing a great role for the defense and security of the Republic of Korea, both inside and outside of the country,” he added.
Moon’s visit to the unit on 27 March 2018 partly confirmed Seoul’s continued commitment to the military training program, his office Cheong Wa Dae noted.
“President Moon’s visit to the Akh unit, which is a symbol of defense cooperation between South Korea and the UAE and an example of mutual cooperation, marked a chance to reaffirm the countries' strong defense cooperation,” Moon’s office said.
“The Akh unit is becoming a new example of defense cooperation as it is the first contingent to be deployed in a non-conflict area,” Moon told the troops.
“The UAE is our country’s closest friend in the Middle East. You are contributing greatly to improving the UAE military’s special combat capabilities and making it an elite force. Because of the Akh unit, the two countries have become 'special strategic partners’ and brother nations,” he added.
More than 1,700 South Korean soldiers have served in the Akh unit so far.