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Oman-Korea ties remain stronger than ever

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His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Sultan of Oman
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Sultan of Oman

Omani Ambassador Mohamed Salim Alharthy contributed the below article on the occasion of his country's 44th National Day and the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Oman and Korea. — ED.

<span>Omani Ambassador to Korea<br />Mohamed Salim Alharthy</span><br /><br />
Omani Ambassador to Korea
Mohamed Salim Alharthy
The 18th of November every year, Oman celebrate the National Day and there are great achievements, progress and prosperity in various spheres of life under the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. Over the years of the Sultanate's modern renaissance, the Omani Renaissance continues development of human, natural and economic resources, and providing a broad base of infrastructure and services, and establishing the state of law and institutions.

Beside expanding the legislative and legal powers, enhance the democracy and Shura (Consultative) , that accompanied by several steps to strengthen the independence of the judiciary and the public prosecutor, to enable the Omani peoples to fulfill their role and participation in the development, progress and decision-making.

The Omani Woman was empowered and was able improve her expertise and play major role in society, gain a membership in the Shura and state councils, (Consultative Council), and assume high ranking position in in various fields both the government and private sectors.

The Omani foreign policy since the beginning of the renaissance, has continued to build bridges of friendship, and open new horizons of cooperation and good relations with various countries, based on the firm foundations of mutual respect and common interests, standing always with the side of right and justice ,non-interference in internal affairs, and continued to work with the countries of the world to promote tolerance, coexistence, love and peace, and settlement of conflicts and disputes through the means of tolerance, dialogue and negotiations.

The legislative and regulatory authorities granted to the Majlis Oman (Royal Decree 39/2011) made this council more capable of expressing the aspirations of citizens and granted them further opportunities for participation in the decision-making process. In addition, the experience of Municipal Councils proved to be another formidable development in democratic practice, an opportunity to expand the scope of citizens' participation in serving their local societies and enhancing the tradition of Omani Shura. These achievements went hand in hand with steps to reinforce the independence of the judiciary and public prosecution.

Night scenery of Grand Mosque in Muscat
Night scenery of Grand Mosque in Muscat


Oman has guaranteed religious and intellectual freedom to citizens and residents alike, acting from the view that these freedoms are human rights that cannot be confiscated by any means.

Oman exerts tangible efforts in enhancing the concept of coexistence and tolerance for which our world today is in great need more than any other time before.

Oman holds a mobile exhibition which tours countries of the world to convey Oman experience in religious tolerance and co-existence that prevail across the spectrum of the cosmopolitan population. It also organizes symposiums on propagating the principles of tolerance.

Since its launching in 2011 in Germany, the exhibition has toured more than 55 cities around the world. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary between Oman and Korea, Seoul has been selected among many cities around the world to host the exhibition. In November 4, 2014, the exhibition organized by Oman's Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs, the Oman embassy and Korea foundation host the exhibition for one month from Nov. 4-Dec. 6 in Korea foundation gallery, Seoul The exhibition presents variety of facets of the modern society in the Sultanate of Oman by offering the visitors with insight into the practice of Islam in daily life, along with an examination of contemporary Omani society and the role of women in its society. The exhibition comprises several corner including manuscripts which dates hundreds of years, tolerance panels, photo exhibition, fine arts-shadow arts, Arabic calligraphy, a documentary film, and modern Oman panels. Also a campaign titled "#ActForTolerance" a hash tag was launched, and this one targets young men and women from all countries of the world. The aim of the exhibition is to highlights various cultural aspect of Oman and spread the correct message of Islam which aims better understanding among our nation which ultimate aim is to enhance our relation and cooperation.

History, Culture and Tourism

Oman history goes back to 5000 years ago. Its strategic location between the east and the west was a major part for being trade route. Therefore, it had connection with varies civilizations in the past. Omanis also were known as sea faring and trading nation.

Oman enjoys an unspoiled culture and traditional lifestyle in almost every aspect of life which is derived from the Islamic religion. The Omanis are a society committed to kindness, friendship, hospitality and the value of the family as the solid foundation of life.

Oman is a beautiful country with many appealing sites and destinations. The popularity of Oman is mainly due to its geological structure, beautiful landscapes, mountains, deserts and Wadis, with green oases of palm trees, heritage, etc. Oman also has some exotic beaches with crystal clear and sparkling water and luxurious resorts and hotels, restaurants, etc. Some of the interesting attractions of Oman include Muscat, Nizwa, Sohar, Salalah and Sur. Oman is rich in nature, culture, heritage as well as interesting activities such as scuba diving, boating, climbing, trekking, camping, golf, shopping and watching whales, dolphins, turtles and birds. In addition, tourists can enjoy camel and horse racing and the souks and villages of Oman, Bedouin tents in the desert and camel riding.

Oman Vision 2040

The Main Committee for Oman 2040 was formed last year and it was entrusted with drafting a new vision on how to benefit from economic and social developments in the local, regional and international arenas, while at the same time taking into account the ‘Oman 2020' assessment made by the Secretariat General of the Supreme Council for Planning.

Oman 2040's main focus will be on identifying and exploiting the country's available opportunities and resources of each economic sector, including airports, seaports and industrial estates, in addition to available resources, to help realise the diversification of sources of income and the expansion of self-employment projects. A balanced distribution of development in all governorates should also be taken into account.

Oman-Korea relations

This year also marks the 40th anniversary of establishment of the diplomatic relations between the Sultanate of Oman and the Republic of Korea, which have witnessed, since its establishment, development in various aspects. The volume of trade has been doubled, increase in the investment and exchange visits between the two friendly countries. In addition to this the Korean companies expanded their contribution in the construction and industrial projects taking place in the Sultanate of Oman.

The embassy is keen to expand and deepen the prospects of cooperation to include all fields such as renewable energy, technology and extend it to cultural, health, educational and tourism aspects and other fields.

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary between Oman and Korea, the embassy has launched a series of cultural events to enhance the mutual understanding and strengthen and expand cooperation to include broader fields. There are many projects and investment opportunities and incentives in Oman for Korean companies. Also, Oman is a tourist destination that enjoys a deep rooted history, rich heritage, beautiful geological structure, and authentic Arabic hospitality; welcome to Oman

Oman-Korea relations date back more than a thousand years, when Omani merchants met their Korean counterparts on their way to China. In modern times, they established diplomatic relations in 1974. Since then, Oman—Korea relations witnessed a remarkable development in various fields.

Korea is regarded a major trading partner of Oman, and both countries engage in numerous economical exchanges and cooperation. Oman provides large quantities of oil and LNG to Korea. On the other hand, Korea exports many industrial products, including automobiles, vessels, hi-tech electronics and electric goods to Oman.

Moreover, many Korean companies such as GS, Daewoo, Hyundai, Doosan, Hanjin, Dealim, and others are contributing to the development of Omani infrastructure and other major projects.

The volume of trade between the Sultanate of Oman and South Korea reached $5.79 billion in 2013. The Sultanate export to South Korea reached $5.3 billion while import from South Korea reached 0.923 billion.

The Oman-Korea Joint Committee is playing a pivotal role in promoting and developing the cooperation between the two countries. During the fourth round of meetings held in Muscat on Aug. 24. During this round they reviewed the results of the committee's works and the bilateral cooperation in the economic, scientific and cultural fields and means of promoting them, as well as exchanging viewpoints on matters of concern to the two friendly countries.

To reflect the strong ties, an exchange visit from both sides has taken place. Lately, Oman's minister of Information and minister of Transport and Communication visited Korea.

Oman has also participated in many international events and conferences which have taken place in Korea such as the UN Public Service Forum, the 12th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP) and High Level Segment, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Nuclear forum, and others. During the ITU conference Oman has participated on the Technology Gender Equality Streaming award and a golden sponsor.

Investment Opportunities

Oman has worked to attract investment over the past years by creating a suitable climate to attract foreign investments and stimulate domestic businesses. It improves the economic environment and creates encouraging incentives.

Oman enjoys many investment features, which have enabled it to attract domestic and foreign investment, including security, political stability and the application of a free economic system. It allows foreigners to own projects without any restrictions on the transfer of funds to outside the country, and there is no tax on the income of individuals. Also, it gives uniform tax treatment to all companies, both Omani and foreign institutions, at 12 percent annually.

There are many investment opportunities and major ongoing projects and many more to come, such as a railroad project, a medical city, an education city, ports, airports, tourism projects, petrochemical projects, and many other construction projects.

Oman is looking to attract specialist investment into the Sultanate's ports and special economic zones. As a major manufacturer of high quality machinery, technology and electronics, our focus is to bring an expertise to assist us with the development of major projects in the logistics, fisheries, petrochemical, tourism and manufacturing sectors across the Sultanate.

Oman will see a massive surge of investments with more than $127 billion worth of projects under way. This is in addition to more than $80 billion projects being executed at different stages of completion, while more are scheduled to be launched in the remaining 14 months of this five-year plan.

Four engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for building the $3.6 billion Liwa Plastics project are expected to be floated in January next year. The EPC contracts will be awarded by the fourth quarter of 2015, and the commissioning of the project would start in the first quarter of 2018, which will lead to full commission by the end of the same year

The contract for the Rail Road Network construction of the 207 km Sohar-Buraimi worth of $15bn is anticipated to be awarded by mid-2015. This in addition to a total of 18 consortiums and joint ventures prequalified to participate in the design and build package of the 2,235km-long line. Bids are due in by 21 December, 2014.

Also to be constructed along the route are a number of railway facilities, including stations, freight yards, wayside maintenance bases, and maintenance depots.

We would like to invite Korean companies to take the opportunity to participate in these projects and investments. The embassy is keen on providing support and cooperation to Korean companies and look forward their participation and presence in Oman.

Beside these events we are planning to hold economic and investment forums to promote the projects and investment opportunities for the Korean companies to participate in the projects and investment opportunities in Oman.

These cultural events and business forum act as a bridge between our nation to promote understanding which aim to enhance enhances the relation and cooperation in general.

In conclusion, I would like to say that during these blessing days of the 44th National day, Oman is proudly witnessing the achievements made by the hands of its people under the wise leadership of H.M Sultan Qaboos.

On this occasion and the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the cordial relation between Oman and Korea, I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate the Korean government and people for the achievements that have been made in various areas, which are being felt everywhere, and the role of Korea in addressing issues of local, regional and international level besides hosting international events and conferences.

Also, I would like to express my thanks and appreciation for the Korean people and government for their cooperation, kindness, generosity and hospitality they have extended to us since our arrival in this great and beautiful country. Thanks and appreciation also extended to the sponsor and Korea Times who have made this supplement possible.

Last but not least, I would like to invite the Korean people to visit Oman, explore the culture, tourism land marks, adventure and also invite the Korean companies to participate in the investment opportunities of various projects. I'm confident that our relations and cooperation in the coming days will witness further enhancement and development. Ultimately, my heartfelt wishes to Korea to further success and progress and for the Oman-Korea relation further development and prosperity.


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