Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, UAE Minister of State for Defense Affairs, headed Friday a delegation of senior officials from the Ministry of Defense visiting South Korea, in response to an official invitation from Suh Wook, Minister of National Defense of South Korea.
The visit completes the meetings of the 9th UAE-Korea Supreme Military Joint Committee, which aims at enhancing the bilateral ties between the two countries.
During their meeting, the two sides highlighted the importance of strengthening their cooperation in defense affairs and defense industries, and discussed several issues of mutual concern, to achieve regional stability and international peace and security, UAE national news agency WAM reported.
Al Bowardi highlighted the strong overall relations between the two friendly countries, most notably in the area of defense, stressing that they have strong and distinguished ties.
He also highlighted the keenness of the UAE’s leadership to encourage cooperation in organizing military exercises and the exchange of technical and technological expertise to advance the defense industries of the two countries, expressing his keenness to reinforce their bilateral ties and upgrade them to a strategic partnership.
The meeting came two months after the UAE signed a preliminary deal to purchase South Korea’s mid-range surface-to-air missile system (M-SAM).
The Minister of Defense of South Korea expressed gratitude to the UAE’s Minister of State for Defense Affairs for the import decision, saying South Korea will continue to help the UAE military obtain related operational capabilities, Yonhap reported.
The M-SAM system, called Cheongung II, is a core element of South Korea's multi-layered anti-missile program.
The two sides also shared their assessment on the regional and security environment, with Al Bowardi expressing support for South Korea’s endeavors for denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.
After the talks, the Ministers visited the Korea Aerospace Industries in Sacheon, 440 kilometers south of Seoul, as the UAE expressed interest in South Korea’s T-50 trainer jet, KF-21 fighter, light-armed helicopter, and next-generation helicopter satellite system.
The two countries have held annual defense ministerial talks since 2011. The Minister of Defense of South Korea visited the UAE last year.