Send to

Yoon calls UAE ‘brother country’ during visit to Korean troops

Jan. 16, 2023 - 02:40 By Shin Ji-hye
President Yoon Suk Yeol and first lady Kim Keon Hee pose for photos with soldiers during his visit to the UAE on Sunday. (Yonhap)

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — President Yoon Suk Yeol visited Korean troops stationed in the United Arab Emirates to encourage the soldiers, telling them the UAE is “our brother” and that its security was the security of South Korea, the presidential office said Sunday.

President Yoon and first lady Kim Keon Hee visited the Akh unit, which has been dispatched by South Korea since 2011 to train UAE special forces at the request of the UAE government.

Yoon told the troops there that they came to the UAE because the UAE is “our brother country.” Akh means “brother” in Arabic.

President Yoon Suk Yeol and first lady Kim Keon Hee receive hats as honorary Akh unit members during his visits to the UAE on Sunday. (Yonhap)

“This field where you conduct joint training, operations and education here is the Republic of Korea and our homeland,” Yoon said. “This place where you have been ordered by the country is not the foreign country UAE, but this place is your homeland.”

“The security of our brother country is our security,” he said, adding that “The UAE's enemy, the most threatening country, is Iran, and our enemy is North Korea.”

The two countries have several areas of military cooperation and share many military intelligence technologies, Yoon said.

“If you do well, our security will be that much stronger,” the president said. “If the world knows that the Republic of Korea's defense power is this strong, it will break the enemy's will to commit provocations.”

The main purpose of the Akh unit is to improve the combat strength of the UAE armed forces by supporting education and training of UAE special warfare units through specialized instructors and conducting combined training in the fields of special warfare, counter-terrorism, high-altitude descent and maritime special operations.

A total of 2,950 Korean military personnel have been dispatched to the UAE over the past 12 years.