Seoul, South Korea – During a three-nation tour of the Middle East this week, South Korean President Moon Jae-in will showcase a wide range of exports, including more powerful weapons and a vibrant pop culture, which showcases his country’s growth in the fields. fun, power and equipment.
The visit reflects South Korea’s growing alliance in the Middle East and the region’s prioritization.
At his first stop at Moon in the United Arab Emirates, he signed a $ 3.5bn deal to sell land rifles and aircraft to the Gulf. The South Korean arms dealership said in a statement Tuesday that the alliance involves companies such as Hanwha Defense and LIGNex1 and will “switch” to a long-term security agreement.
He also performed a powerful demonstration of his homeland when he performed at a K-pop concert featuring Psy’s “Gangnam Style” fame.
After the UAE, its journey continued and stopped in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. South Korea has a growing interest in the Middle East as a destination for its products, including advanced military technology. South Korea currently ranks ninth in the world to export arms, and the number of arms exports increased by 210 percent in 2016-20 over the past five years, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
“On this trip, Moon is doing well as a salesman in his home country,” Sean O’Malley, professor of international studies at Dongseo University, told Al Jazeera, explaining the main purpose of the trip was to “promote arms sales and business growth. South Korea. ”
One five-year term as president ends in May, and he faces the prospect of stepping down without further ado on two counting terms: lasting peace with North Korea and economic stagnation for the dwindling South Korean population.
Negotiations with Pyongyang have been suspended since then The 2019 summit between North Korea and the US in Hanoi ended. Over the past two weeks, North has conducted four missile tests that show the progress of the country’s weapons programs. Pyongyang has repeatedly rejected calls from Seoul to return to negotiations and negotiations between Korea.
Economically, although South Korea has spent a lot of money to reduce the economic downturn during the coronavirus epidemic, people in the country are frustrated by the slow growth and rising house prices.
This gives Moon a strong incentive to use his remaining time in office to succeed where he can, especially through channels that support foreign-dependent economies, which is the fourth in Asia.
South Korea has a long history of trade relations with Middle Eastern countries. In the 1970s, South Korean companies and workers worked on construction and construction throughout the region.
South Korea, a non-oil producer, has relied on Middle East corporations to buy more essential oil to meet its needs, as well as to provide the country’s largest refineries.
Moon revisited the UAE in 2018, where South Korea is building its first nuclear power plant abroad. The two countries also have a deep military alliance, with South Korean troops since 2011 running a program in the UAE to train their fellow soldiers.
This week’s visit to Moon and his representatives of ambassadors and businessmen is highlighting the progress of the partnership between security and trade.
“The Moon’s alliance with the UAE is its latest addition to the country’s administration, which aims to highlight South Korea’s ancient potential, enhance its global interest, and promote national independence,” Sea Young said. Sarah Kim, a PhD student in international relations at Yonsei University Graduate School of International Studies, told Al Jazeera.
South Korea has reaffirmed its commitment to a resilient region by providing assistance to countries affected by emergencies, such as Iraq and Syria.
“South Korea is coming fast as a global football player, especially in areas where there are often conflicts,” Jagannath P. Panda, a specialist at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and Analyzes in New Delhi, told Al Jazeera.
“Korea has used military deployments in the region to achieve significant benefits and to protect its interests, which include a nuclear watchdog,” Panda said. “Continued security relations with the UAE reflect the situation.”
Such relations should be maintained after the month of resignation in May, as the two major political parties in the country agree on the need for the use of South Korean music and video, as well as the advancement of its technical expertise, as a financial resource.
Research shows that the March presidential election, a dispute between representatives of the two main parties, is still very close. The winner should follow in the footsteps of previous presidents and continue to see growing relations with the Middle East as a key factor in foreign affairs.
“Along the way, the Moon is laying the foundation for future leaders to build, by signing agreements that will boost South Korea’s exports of technology,” O’Malley said.
“In that sense, he is serving his country, and hopefully the three countries that are involved in business.”