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First lady discusses culture with UAE leader's mother, minister

Kim tells minister Cheong Wa Dae has returned to people like palace opened to public in UAE

First lady Kim Keon Hee, who is on a state visit to the United Arab Emirates with President Yoon Suk Yeol, visits the presidential palace in Abu Dhabi on Sunday (local time). (Yonhap)
First lady Kim Keon Hee, who is on a state visit to the United Arab Emirates with President Yoon Suk Yeol, visits the presidential palace in Abu Dhabi on Sunday (local time). (Yonhap)

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- First lady Kim Keon Hee went on her solo events, attending a dinner invitation by Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi, mother of the Emirati leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and meeting Minister of Culture and Youth Noura Al Kaabi, the presidential office said Monday.

On Sunday evening, Kim had the dinner at the presidential palace Qasr Al Watan with the UAE leader's mother who is also the widow of the late President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Kim expressed her gratitude for warm hospitality saying, “I am delighted to be able to meet Her Highness, who is greatly trusted and loved by the people as the mother of the country.”

In response, Sheikha Fatima said, “A state visit of this scale is a level that is difficult to see since the president’s inauguration and even historically,” adding, the UAE leader has a “special interest.”

During the dinner, Kim had conversations on various topics, ranging from Korea’s medical care, K-content and dramas to the common interests between the UAE royal family and President Yoon Suk Yeol and Kim, deepening their friendship, according to Yoon’s office.

Kim, who visited the palace’s library while touring the presidential palace, mentioned Korean books, saying, “I heard that many people in the UAE are reading Korean books recently. I hope Korean books will expand into cultural content such as movies and dramas in the UAE,” according to the written statement released by the presidential office.

She asked Minister Al Kaabi to “pay attention to” the international book fairs to be held in Korea and Sharjah, UAE, this year.

In response, the minister said she would “definitely attend” the Seoul International Book Fair in June this year. Participation by foreign officials in international book fairs will have a positive impact on the development of copyright exports by laying the foundation for overseas expansion of domestic publications and forming potential market networks, according to the Korean presidential office.

Minister Al Kaabi introduced the words, “Wealth does not come from money and oil. Wealth belongs to people and if it is not spent on people, it has no value,” which were engraved on the oval sculpture displayed in the central hall. The words were made by the late President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, officials said.

In response, Kim said, “The sculptures and the president’s words seem to make this place a more meaningful and wonderful space.”

The minister said the UAE government has been opening the presidential palace to the public for the first time since several years ago, and she understands South Korea’s former presidential office Cheong Wa Dae has also been returned to the people.

Mentioning that both the UAE and Korean presidents had their inaugurations in May last year and both were of a similar age, Kim said the two leaders “have many things in common.”

“When the minister comes to Korea next time, I would like to introduce you to Cheong Wa Dae, just you did to us today,” Kim told her.

By Shin Ji-hye (