Success of baraka nuclear project and the enhancement of UAE-KOREA bilateral relations

  • 16 Pages
  • Published On: 21-05-2024

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Background

The ties between South Korea and UAE stretch to almost 40 years, where most of the ties between the two countries revolved around development of Korea. At the time, South Korea was making effort in overcoming the economic poverty largely linked to the aftermath of Korean War between the North and South Korea. Historically, South Korea is UAE’s fourth largest partner in terms of exports with regards to foreign energy resources, which play a focal role in the economic progress of the Far East and UAE. The relationship between UAE and South Korea can be mirrored in the trade across the Gulf Arab nations. Over the 1960s, South Korea and UAE were virtual strangers (Yamada 2015). In 1970s, however, the bilateral trade is said to have gone up from $3 million to around $265 million. Upon taking off the Gulf Arab economies in the 1970s, the Korea construction firms are said to have built infrastructure projects across the Gulf. Based on the oil boom at the time, most of the South Korean firms opted to explore the opportunities in other zones. Over the past decades, South Korea engaged more with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members as a drive that would bolster economic development and exerting economic progress. Companies from South Korea would later push through significant projects that saw the rise of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa and Abu Dhabi. While the flow of significant energy resources and construction projects would take a common direction, electronic appliances further shaped the relations between UAE-Korea (Levkowitz 2013). The economic ties between the two have gone beyond hydrocarbons-for-Construction swap. Upon the visit of Korean President Park Geun-Hye to UAE, she signed a memorandum of understanding that cited a few fields including nuclear energy, culture, halai food production, and agriculture among others.


From the year 2009 to 2014, it is recorded that more South Korean expatriates flooded Dubai with the numbers increasing from 1000 to 5000. Recent statistics indicate that the number has gone up to 14000 expatriates as they made UAE their home. In December 2009, the Seoul’s nuclear ambitions reached the climax where the South Korean consortium secured a contract of $20.4 billion, which could facilitate the construction of nuclear power plants across the UAE (Berthelemy and Leveque 2011). Better and stronger cooperation has been noted alongside the nuclear field with the growing military relationship between the two countries. Over 150 South Korean troops were staged in Al Ain, which facilitates training on anti-terrorism, counter-insurgency and anti-hijacking actions. The troops equally became part of the international efforts that protected the freighters and secured the Gulf of Aden. South Korea also had a hand in the Abu Dhabi’s oil-dependent economy at the time when the emirates was in pursuit of the new partnerships that went beyond the Western energy firms, which are said to have been active for decades (Dixon and Beard 2016). Abu Dhabi went ahead awarding South Korea the GS energy a whopping 3% stake for around four decades in an investment stated to be the highest producing onshore field. Subsequent bilateral cooperation has extended to tourism and health sectors. History has it that in 2012, the renowned Dubai Health Authority is said to have awarded the Bobath Memorial Hospital the contract that would have seen the awarded party run both the medical as well as therapeutic services across the Dubai Rehabilitation Centre.

Consistently, hundreds of Emiratis have recently moved to South Korea with the central purpose of seeking medical treatment while others would enter the country either for business or leisure. Statistics has it that over 12,000 Korean tourists visited the UAE in the year 2012. Apart from business and economic ties thought to have bonded the UAE and South Korea, it is evident that cultural ties between the two countries are equally growing. The two governments reached an agreement of establishing a Korean cultural centre at the heart of UAE (Niu 2013). Few days later, a Korean Festival was held at the National Theatre in Abu Dhabi. Over the years, Korean soap operas, film and even music has flooded UAE thereby making the relations to gain more attention. Collectively, the two nations have achieved in terms of development due to the ties that have been witnessed for long. Perhaps, the UAE-Korean relations bear history as the two stations struggle to grow socially and economically. Since the first unnoticeable ties that could not be figured out in the first place, subsequent agreements confirm the fact that the relationship is binding and almost permanent.

At some point, cooperation agreements are believed to have been inked by Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nhayan, the UAE Foreign Minister, and Choi Kyung-hwan, the South Korean Minister of Knowledge Economy. Notably, the agreements are said to have covered a framework protocol believed to have aimed at boosting the economy of the partnership that would intensify the bilateral cooperation. Higher committees and sub-committees were to foster cooperation while focusing on the diverse fields that are not limited to human resources development, information technology, sustainability, peaceful nuclear energy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. This has seen the Korean economy grow harmoniously and would be regarded as a sustainable growth that has never or has rarely been witnessed by other countries around the world. The Korean economic model has equally been borrowed by UAE to spark the technological self-efficiency and sustainable industrialization. South Korea has equally described UAE as one of the biggest economic partners to North Africa, Middle East, and South Korea itself. According to Lee Myung-Bak, the South Korean President, the two countries have continuously pledged to work on strategic partnerships that would see the relations grow in terms of education, culture, health, military affairs, economic ties, and even politics. Based on this preview, the history between UAE and South Korea has largely described the ties that have been growing from time to time. It is of note that no wrangles or cold war has ever been witnessed by any of the sides, which means that good partnership has been maintained by the two for more than 40 years.

While more attention is given to the economic and social ties, it is rare to touch on the platforms and factors that led to agreements and successful development of the notable nuclear plants. It is evident that energy particularly nuclear related sources due to warhead potential is one sensitive area that has dragged the United States and Iran for many years before reaching an agreement. It becomes unique as to how the bilateral relations between UAE and Korea came out successful and had an equal impact on Baraka Nuclear Project. While the history barely touches on the long-time relations, it is not evident how such relations came into play and how they had an impact on the development of Baraka nuclear project. Ideally, the choice of this topic is more strategic and aligned to grounds that would enable readers to understand how the two countries came too close and their ties look permanent than what anyone would ever imagine. From facts and theoretical thought, politics, the relations UAE has with South Korea have witnessed economic ties, long-term friendship, military support, joint nuclear projects, and even social relations.

The introduction of Baraka nuclear project, as it appears in the topic, raises more questions as to why the project chose such a smooth path, while other similar projects have never come out successfully. The first dimension through which the topic looks at this argument includes the theoretical platform related to international relations, which can give possible reasons as to why the bilateral relations came into play. A relook at realism, liberalism, and even constructivism, among others, yield a platform that would reason the genesis of the relationship between the two countries. This will include shaping ideas towards the success of the Baraka nuclear plant, which is a brainchild of the long-term relations between UAE and South Korea. The second dimension manifested by the topic includes the causal links said to describe the UAE-Korean relations in all possible settings.

Causal links provide channels that supported the relationship between the two nations. This paves way for factors that would help to argue and negotiate the ties for a good cause (Jeon 2010). The third dimension that the topic concentrates on is the economic interests and security concerns, which are floated as the key factors attached to the relations between UAE and South Korea. More attention is drawn towards the movement of troops from South Korea to UAE, and whether the movement had anything attached to the success of the Baraka nuclear project. This can be extended to four other nuclear plants that were handed to South Korea for managerial reasons, which need to be explored as well. The last concern drawn from the topic includes the parameters behind the outcomes of the Baraka nuclear project, which can be associated to the environment established by the relations between UAE and South Korea. Some of these parameters can still be changed into variables if well analysed and directed to the objectives of this research that would be established later. The parameters may include the capacity of the relations in meeting the total costs, market and even the kind of an example the UAE and South Korea offer to the rest of the world (Burchill et al. 2013). Across all the dimensions, it is worth noting that all these are gaps left behind across the researches that have been done before. Most of them would easily ta into the speeches made by the respective presidents. However, a relationship that has lasted for around 40 years deserves more than just speeches. Perhaps, this should be linked to a history that is thousands of years old while drawing interest on the former and later relations that must have adopted the UAE-Korean model.

The research topic and the analysis of Baraka Nuclear Project would advance new knowledge as well as new ways of understanding concerning the UAE and Korea relationships. The research would be drawn to respond to questions and concerns that regard the nature of interest both the UAE and South Korea had in the Baraka Nuclear Project. It focuses largely on reasons as to why energy is a significant factor or tool that would see UAE and South Korea work together, platforms and parameters that made UAE develop trust in South Korea to an extent of handing over resources such as energy. Subsequently, the outcomes of the project is attributable to factors that have made the two countries to such as close relation and why other forces may not disrupt the relations. In the first place, UAE was drawn towards Baraka nuclear project due to its increasing interests in working on additional sources of electricity, which are needed in meeting electricity demand that is expected to rise in the market (Burchill et al. 2013). This has been reflected on the expanding and bulging economy known to have attracted investors from around the globe. In conjunction with the rest of the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the UAE is said to have proceeded with its plans to work on a nuclear power program that aimed at introducing new capacity that will be ready before or in 2020. Other states such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, and the UAE itself showcased that the council should have studied on the peaceful use of the available nuclear energy. The invitation of different consortia further attracted three bidders with the Korean consortium performing way above the rest. South Korea would later play a key role in procurement, power engineering, as well as construction as plant service and maintenance would still be retained by KNF.

From these findings, it is important to note that this has opened a platform that would respond to concerns, gap areas and interests that have been floated in air for the past 40 years. The same concerns have tuned the refocus of the key energy players in the industry trying to adopt the UAE-Korean model with deals established between US and other partners almost hitting bedrock in most cases. The choice of South Korea as the winning bidder has equally led to questions of trust and long term relations that must have had a hand in the project. This equally leads to a research gap that would work more on factors and the nature of the environment that must have led to the choice of South Korea as the entrusted partner to handle the project. Again, this can still be extended to the progress of the project or any outcomes of the Baraka nuclear project that justify the UAE’s choice over the two bidders that showed interest in the project. The key part comes where energy resources are negotiated between two countries that have known for economic ties that have lasted for years. The question is how would then such kind of a relationship lead to pursuit of other interests beyond what is known.

1.2 Hypotheses

Hypothesis, in this context, can be regarded as a proposed explanation or supposition made based on limited evidence as the beginning platform for further investigation. The proposition made is basically determined through reasoning. In this context, the hypotheses of the research constitute the dependent and independent variable. An independent variable can be understood as a factor that is argued to have caused something to happen. The dependent variable is basically what is caused or an outcome that depends on something, especially the independent variable. Based on the background of the research, the Baraka nuclear project qualifies to be an independent variable while the UAE-Korean relationship is the dependent variable. The first hypothesis is that the security concerns and economic interests are platforms for developing Baraka nuclear project, which have an equal impact on the UAE-Korean relationships. Based on this first hypothesis, it can be established that Baraka nuclear project must have attracted economic interests and security concerns, which are the key drives to the positive outcome of the UAE-Korean relationship that is currently 40 years old. Therefore, the research would look at the economic impact produced by Baraka nuclear project, economic interests attached to the project and the stake South Korea has in the project based on the partnership the two countries have established for this long. Secondly, Baraka nuclear project is the primary explanation of liberalism and realism, which are rivalry theories thought to explain the UAE-Korean relations.

Most of the theories have, in the past been thought to be key platforms that bond countries around the world without producing evidence to the cause. However, this case tables Baraka nuclear project as the key platform that introduces the concept of realism and liberalism is the true explanation of the UAE-Korean relationship that has already lasted for many years, and would still last for long enough. The third hypothesis is a null hypothesis that argues why the success of the Baraka nuclear project may not provide explanation to the long term economic ties that have bonded UAE and South Korea for around 40 years now. Perhaps, the argument is that economic ties came way before the introduction of the Baraka nuclear project and therefore, the connection of the two may possibly lack evidence or subsequent justification. Lastly, the success of the Baraka nuclear project may not describe the relationship between UAE and the rest of the world, or the UAE-Korean relationships. This confirms that most of the world relations are due to other factors and not necessarily energy projects, which are believed to have attracted key players in the industry. This also reiterates possible application of extra theories, which are thought to establish a platform that describes the nature, the cause and the impact of notable bilateral relations between countries around the world. However, all the hypotheses are subject to research due to limited evidence that may not be significant in justifying the standpoints.

1.3 Methodology

The key phenomenon in this research is the strategic relationship between two countries, which are equally confirmed as the bilateral relations. Sometimes, they are referred to as strategic partnership, which is also the long-term interaction established between any two countries with basis drawn to economic, political, historical as well as social factors. The partnership would manifest in a range of relationships with different interests that might be identified in the end.

A number of theories of international relations can be used to describe the nature of the strategic relationships noted between any two close countries. The first theory is realism, which argues that all nations work towards increasing their power, and countries that end up hording power are able to thrive. The theory goes ahead arguing that a country should first focus on self-preservation, as well as gaining power is expected to be political, economic and social imperative. Strategic relationships established on the grounds of realism would always exist between a more powerful nation and a less powerful state that may have no bargaining powers (Burchill et al. 2013). The second theory is liberalism, which describes the current global system, which has the capacity of engendering the peaceful world order instead of relying on the military action and direct force. Liberalism insist on international cooperation as one way of addressing a nation’s interest as liberalists embrace economic as well as social power as the key platforms that yield strategic partnership between countries. Countries would use such platforms like international diplomacy as well as bilateral trade agreements to convince the next party as the two countries are drawn towards common interests.

The third theory is constructivism, which argues that the nation’s belief systems, anchored on social, cultural and historical platforms, which can describe the country’s foreign behaviour and policy efforts. Constructivists end up arguing that states are never the key actors in fording international relations. However, international institutions are valued as key platforms the influence behaviour across a given country. The fourth theory is Marxism, which is a theory developed by Karl Marx while analysing the social classes and the aims of dismantling the capitalist structure behind the international system. The theory insists that private property should substantially be replaced by significant cooperative ownership, which will bring countries together (Jackson et al. 2019). The last theory that can explain the strategic relationships revolve around feminism. The latter argues that gender issues should play part at the centre of the global politics. Feminists are substantially interested in tracking both social and political developments, which are thought to inhibit the possible success of the female populations. Feminism as a theory may not have a significant place when it comes to strategic relations.

From all the five theories discussed above, realism and liberalism form the basis of this research that will explore the UAE-Korean partnership. Realism looks at the political philosophy, which attempts to explore the models that prescribe the political relations. On the other hand liberalism focuses on the doctrines that enhance freedom of individuals (Viotti et al. 2012). The research would also touch on Marxism as regards the socioeconomic systems. In this research, qualitative tool would be applied to define the course of the research and the research process. This is because the tools would give room for description and analysis of key phenomena identified from the UAE-Korean partnership.

1.4 Methods

The strategic relationship between UAE and South Korea calls for a selection of procedures, tools that would be included in the research process and techniques that facilitate analysis of the key information. The research will adopt the deductive approach, which seeks to justify key theories and hypotheses that were established before. This may not involve a long process apart from providing a rationale for the course of the research. The deductive platform allows the research to work from the conclusions, hypothesis, to the concepts and findings that can justify such conclusions that were mentioned before. The study on the UAE and Korean relations attracts a descriptive study that would explore on the findings that have already been established in other researches (Neuman 2013). This can work alongside case studies, which can easily be retrieved from different materials. While the research would sound like a replica of other researches, the qualitative process allows integration of different findings, which is a process that yields fresh conclusions while prompting future research as well.

The call on adoption of qualitative research method, in this context, comes along consideration of a few factors that led to the decision. First, the qualitative method is simple and works in line with the deductive approach established earlier. This means that it gives room for the research process to work from the hypotheses to the findings and concepts (Fowler Jr 2013). Secondly, descriptive and explorative data are easier to collect and analyse, compared to numerical data which needs more time if the research was to choose the quantitative method. However, the only limitation of this method is just it might lead to generalized conclusions due to lack of key evidence. For the data collection process, the research will adopt case studies as the key tools in collecting data (Neuman 2013). This is based on the fact that the research itself bears history, which cannot be altered by the opinions of people if an interview would be used instead. The choice of case studies provides the advantage of time saving among others.

Dig deeper into The Socio-Cultural Impacts Of Western Beauty Ideals on the lives of women with our selection of articles.
Order Now


  • Yamada, M., 2015. Saudi Arabia's Look‐East Diplomacy: Ten Years On. Middle East Policy, 22(4), pp.121-139.
  • Levkowitz, A., 2013. South Korea's Middle East Policy. Ramat Gan, Israel: Bar-Ilan University.
  • Berthelemy, M. and Leveque, F., 2011. Korea nuclear exports: Why did the Koreans win the UAE tender? Will Korea achieve its goal of exporting 80 nuclear reactors by 2030? (No. CERNA--2011-04). Centre d'economie industrielle-Cerna.
  • Dixon, B. and Beard, L., 2016. Global nuclear markets–market arrangements and service agreements (No. INL/EXT-16-38796-Rev000). Idaho National Lab.(INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States).
  • Niu, S.O.N.G., 2013. The Strategic Partnership between South Korea and the United Arab Emirates. Security Strategies Journal, 9(17).
  • Levkowitz, A., 2012. Korea and the Middle East turmoil: a reassessment of South Korea–Middle East relations. The Korean journal of defense analysis, 24(2), pp.225-238.
  • Jeon, S., 2010. Overseas oil development of South Korea. Development, 8(21), p.3.
  • Berthelemy, M. and Leveque, F., 2011. Korea nuclear exports: Why did the Koreans win the UAE tender? Will Korea achieve its goal of exporting 80 nuclear reactors by 2030? (No. CERNA--2011-04). Centre d'economie industrielle-Cerna.
  • Burchill, S., Linklater, A., Devetak, R., Donnelly, J., Nardin, T., Paterson, M., Reus-Smit, C. and True, J., 2013. Theories of international relations. Macmillan International Higher Education.
  • Jackson, R., Sørensen, G. and Møller, J., 2019. Introduction to international relations: theories and approaches. Oxford University Press, USA.
  • Viotti, P.R., Kauppi, M.V. and Brooks, S.G., 2012. International relations theory. Londres: Longman.
  • Neuman, W.L., 2013. Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Pearson education.
  • Fowler Jr, F.J., 2013. Survey research methods. Sage publications.

Google Review

What Makes Us Unique

  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • 100% Customer Satisfaction
  • No Privacy Violation
  • Quick Services
  • Subject Experts

Research Proposal Samples

It is observed that students are not able to pull out the task of completing their dissertation, so in that scenario, they prefer taking the help of the Dissertation Writer, who provides the best and top-notch Essay Writing Service and Thesis Writing Services to them. All the Dissertation Samples are cost-effective for the students. You can place your order and experience amazing services.

DISCLAIMER : The dissertation help samples showcased on our website are meant for your review, offering a glimpse into the outstanding work produced by our skilled dissertation writers. These samples serve to underscore the exceptional proficiency and expertise demonstrated by our team in creating high-quality dissertations. Utilise these dissertation samples as valuable resources to enrich your understanding and enhance your learning experience.

Live Chat with Humans
Dissertation Help Writing Service