The 9th Korea-Middle East Cooperation Forum: Forging a Partnership for Today’s World

Symposium 32

  • 18 November 2012

The ECSSR organized the 9th Korea-Middle East Cooperation Forum titled: “Forging Partnership for Today’s World,” in cooperation with the Korea–Arab Society and the Jeju Peace Institute, and sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea on 18th November 2012, at the ECSSR office complex in Abu Dhabi.

In his ‘Welcoming Remarks’, His Excellency Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), stated that the Forum seeks to assist in the development of a unified vision and approach toward maximizing the benefits of cooperation between Korea and the Arab world.

His Excellency stressed that cooperation increases understanding among nations and governments, supports agreement on mutual strategic interests and increases the strength and endurance of mutually beneficial strategies and policies. Therefore, the three panels of this Forum, His Excellency said, will discuss cooperation in the fields of nuclear energy, economic relations, and cultural exchange in order to build bridges between Korea and the Middle East.

In his Keynote Address, Ambassador of Qatar to the Republic of Korea and President of the Korea–Arab Society H.E. Ali bin Hamad Al-Marri said that the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and the Middle East countries has significantly strengthened cooperation in the fields of economy, trade and culture—especially with major Korean companies undertaking infrastructure, power, desalination, energy, petrochemicals and engineering projects. This follows an increase in the terms of trade, which jumped from $3.3 billion in 2000 to about $109 billion in 2010.

In his Keynote Address, H.E. Mr. Moon Tae-Young, President, Jeju Peace Institute, Republic of Korea stated that since 2003, this forum has been characterized by cooperation between the two sides. Both Korea and the Middle East have been working toward improving relations beyond the scope of a normal relationship; we both seek to upgrade our ties. Economically, Korea has transformed itself from an aid-dependent country to an industrialized power. The countries of the Arab world have also developed into economic powers. Strategic partnerships with Arab countries have improved, as have cultural exchanges.

Thereafter, Panel I of the Forum took up the issue of safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear energy. Dr. Lee Sang-Hyun, Director General for Policy Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT), Republic of Korea; Mr. Fahad Al-Qahtani, Director of External Affairs and Communications, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC); Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin, Former Acting Secretary General of OPEC, Director General of the Kuwait Foundation, For the Advancement of Science, Kuwait; Prof. Choi Kang, Dean of Planning and Assessment, National Diplomatic Academy Republic of Korea; Prof. Seo Jeong-Min, Policy Advisor to MOFAT, Professor, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Republic of Korea,and Prof. Yousef Shattila, Dean of Academic Programs, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, UAE participated in the panel discussions.

The subject tackled by Panel II of the forum was ‘Beyond Trade – New Areas of Economic Cooperation.’ H.E. Abdullah Al-Saleh, Undersecretary, Ministry of Foreign Trade, UAE; Dr. Lee Choong-Lyol, Professor, Korea University, Republic of Korea; Amer Al-Majali, President of Developments and Free Zones Commission, Jordan and commentators Dr. Song Byoung-Jun, President, Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade, Republic of Korea; Dr. Park Chan-Ho, Director, Global Green Growth Institute, UAE explored new avenues for boosting non-trade economic ties between the two sides.

The issue for Panel III pertained to ‘Cultural Exchange—Building Bridges between Korea and the Middle East.’ Mr. Shin Hyon-Ung, Chairman, Woongjin Foundation, Former Vice-Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism, Republic of Korea; Mr. Humaid Al-Hammadi, President of the Emirati–Korean Friendship Society, UAE; Dr. Ali Fakhro, Former Minister of Education, Kingdom of Bahrain; Ms. Sohn Jie-Ae, President and CEO, Arirang TV and Radio, Republic of Korea; and H.E. Chung Dalho, Director, CIFAL Jeju, Former Korean Ambassador to Egypt, Republic of Korea gave valuable information and insights on the subject in their speeches.

In his ‘Closing Remarks’, H.E. Chung Yong-Chil, Secretary-General, Korea–Arab Society, Republic of Korea expressed satisfaction at the successful completion of the Forum, which achieved all its objectives.

His Excellency Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the ECSSR, in his ‘Closing Remarks’ stated that the forum constitutes proof of the importance of studying common issues; its effective and fruitful participation clearly indicates commitment by the two sides to maintaining their vital interests. He emphasized that such work should not be incidental or seasonal, but should be continuous and translated into strategies, policies and programs for the benefit of both peoples.



Sunday 18 November 2012