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South Korean press shows interest in Hamdan's visit

posted on 12/04/2004: 688 views

The South Korean press has shown considerable interest in the visit to Seoul of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, who arrived here late Saturday night at the head of a high level delegation. The English language "The Korea Times" daily carried the news of Sheikh Hamdan's arrival in Seoul in its front page, while another English daily, The Korea Post, published a special supplement on the occasion. The South Koreans seem to be attaching a special importance to the visit despite the election fever gripping the whole country. South Koreans will on next Thursday go to ballot centres to choose their representatives in the National Assembly, parliament.

Both the newspapers said Sheikh Hamdan was the highest-ranking government official to visit South Korea since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1980. The Korea Times noted that during his five-day stay in Seoul, Sheikh Hamdan would pay a courtesy to Prime Minister Goh Kun, who has been serving as Korea's acting President and would also hold talks with his South Korean counterpart Ban Ki-moon.

The paper added that Sheikh Hamdan would further meet Deputy Prime Minister and Finance-Economy Minister Lee Hun-jai and Defence Minister Cho Young-kil to discuss matters of mutual concern. It quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying that the visit was expected to expand mutual understanding and partnership between the two countries, while strengthening economic cooperation in such areas of energy, construction and information technology industries.

The newspaper said the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry would sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, DCCI, for civil-level economic cooperation on the occasion of Sheikh Hamdan's visit. The Seoul-based daily also carried an interview with Sheikh Hamdan on the eve of his official visit to South Korea. It said the interview was made possible with the help of UAE's national news agency (WAM), which has a news exchange programme with the Korea Times.

A panoramic view of Abu Dhabi was shown in the front page of the supplement issued by the Korea Post to mark Sheikh Hamdan's visit to South Korea. The supplement reviewed excerpts of an interview it had with the UAE top official. "UAE's equity stake in Hyundai Oil is an added factor in strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries. United Arab Emirates' International Petroleum Investment (IPIC) took over a 50 per cent stake in Hyundai Oil Refinery Co. shortly after Korea was brought under the IMF bail-out programme in late 1997", said the paper. Pictures of the UAE Red Crescent Society teams distributing aid among the needy in some African and Asian countries have also been shown in the supplement. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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