Sharjah: Continuing on its mission to strengthen economic and cultural ties between Sharjah and prominent culturally rich cities worldwide, a high-level delegation from the Department of Government Relations (DGR) in Sharjah, recently concluded a visit to South Korea and the Jeju Province - one of the nine provinces of the country.

Led by Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of DGR, the Sharjah delegation met several scientific, economic and public institutions, learned about their work, best practice methodologies and accomplishments, and also explored prospects for collaboration between these entities and their Sharjah counterparts.  

Commenting on the visit, Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi said: “Across key sectors of economy, energy, culture, health care, and education, South Korea and the UAE, Sharjah in particular, have enjoyed a strategic and long standing partnership for decades. Our vibrant exchanges and successful collaborations are evident in the many existing joint projects we are working on together to bring to fruition”.  

“We were particularly excited to meet with key officials leading the culture, tourism and education sectors of the Jeju Province. The breathtaking island’s global reputation as S. Korea’s only natural World Heritage site precedes it, and we look forward to building new bridges of collaboration and friendship with our counterparts in Jeju”.  

“This has been a very timely visit, as the wheels of sustainable development and innovation churn actively in both South Korea and Sharjah, opening limitless possibilities for future collaboration in both vital and emerging sectors. Our South Korean friends and colleagues have been extended a warm invitation to come and explore the dynamic growth and diversification taking place in the emirate, which already enjoys a stronghold in the region as its industrial and educational hub,” he added.  

South Korea visit

The Sharjah delegation had a meeting with Ma Young-Sam, Secretary General of the Korea-Arab Society (KAS), during which they discussed the latter’s role in strengthening cultural cooperation with Arab countries through various programmes and activities. They also discussed key collaboration opportunities in publishing. 

The delegation also visited the Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO Seoul Center) to review its impressive strategy that helped attract 17.5 million visitors in 2019 and visited key tourist attractions to learn about their unique offerings. The delegation’s next stop was the King Sejong Institute Foundation, a nonprofit public institution focused on developing foreign affairs strategies and policies. They discussed topics of mutual interest in economy.

The Sharjah delegation visited the UAE Embassy in Seoul. They discussed the importance of bilateral relations between Sharjah and South Korea with Issa Al Samahi, Deputy Head of Mission in Seoul.

Jeju Province visit

The DGR delegation also travelled to Jeju Island, part of South Korea's ninth and largest Jeju Province, where Sheikh Fahim and OH Young Hun, Governor of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, discussed bilateral relations and explored ways to advance them.

The delegation met with Ko Chun Hwa, Director General of Culture, Sports, and International Affairs and Koh Eun-sook, President of the Jeju Tourism Organisation, who briefed them on the island's touristic and cultural attractions, including the natural World Heritage Site, the Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes.

They also toured the Bonte Museum, a modern gallery featuring traditional Korean arts and visited Halla Mountain, the Forest of Healing in Swogwipo, and the Manjang Lava Cave.

The visit also included a meeting with Kim Eel-hwan, President of Jeju National University, where the two parties discussed strengthening partnerships with Sharjah universities and explored opportunities for student exchanges, especially in the disciplines of science, advanced space, renewable energy, and marine science.

Sheikh Fahim also met with Yang Moon-seok, Chairman of Jeju Chamber of Commerce and Industry, discussing opportunities to boost bilateral trade by organising networking meetings between investors from both sides. The DGR Chairman highlighted Sharjah's unique services and offerings, in addition to its world-class infrastructure that makes the emirate an ideal destination for South Korean investors in general and from Jeju Island in particular. He also extended an invitation to investors and businesses in Jeju to attend the Sharjah Investment Forum (FDI) 2023, which will be held in February 2023.

During the visit, Dr. Intaek Han, President of Jeju Peace Institute, met the Sharjah delegation and talked about their role in strengthening peace and regional cooperation in East Asia.

The delegation also met with Yang Young-Chul, CEO of Jeju Free International City Development Centre. The two sides exchanged views on ways to attract local and foreign investments, as well as businesses from around the world to operate in a tax-free environment.

Sheikh Fahim highlighted the unique opportunities across Sharjah specialised free zones, including their business-friendly environment, global connectivity and flexible, advanced infrastructure.