ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- President Yoon Suk Yeol received the highest level of courtesy during his visit to the United Arab Emirates, where he was invited for the first state visit by a Korean leader.
Before the summit with Emirati President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan for closer economic cooperation, Yoon was received in a large-scale official welcoming ceremony Sunday morning, the second day of his visit to the nation.
At the beginning of the ceremony, seven UAE fighter jets came into formation in the sky above the presidential palace, Qasr Al Watan, in an air show, flying low and emitting contrails in red and blue representing the Korean national flag.
President Yoon and first lady Kim Keon Hee inspected the honor guard, and the UAE military fired a 21-gun salute.
On the first night of Yoon’s visit, the lighting at the presidential palace was also changed to red and blue. Many Korean national flags hung along roads in downtown Abu Dhabi.
From the moment Yoon’s Air Force One entered UAE's airspace, the Middle Eastern country treated him as a state guest, according to officials.
Immediately after the plane entered the UAE’s air defense identification zone, four of its air force fighter jets, two each on the left and right, flew as an escort.
Upon Yoon's arrival, UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Energy and Infrastructure Minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui and Khaldoon Khalifa al-Mubarak, chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority of Abu Dhabi, greeted them at the airport. The UAE foreign minister is the younger brother of the UAE president.
“We believe in good luck,” the minister told Yoon at the reception.
Out of respect for the UAE, Yoon and first lady Kim visited a war memorial and the Wahat Al Karama monument and attended the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, where the late President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was buried, to commemorate him in the morning before attending the summit with the UAE president.
At a luncheon after the summit, Yoon was served camel meat, keeping in the tradition of honoring the most elite of VIP guests.