Dubai, Jan 17 (IANS): The scheduled talks between visiting South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan were cancelled due to an "unforeseen matter of state" of the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a senior Seoul official said.
Moon, who is in Dubai for a three-day visit as part of his week-long trip to the Middle East, had been scheduled to hold talks with the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince on Monday, but the talks were called off as the UAE side "politely asked for understanding for an unforeseen and urgent matter of state", Yonhap News Agency quoted the official as saying.
It was not immediately clear why the talks were cancelled.
Moon had planned to deliver a keynote address on carbon neutrality at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in Abu Dhabi on Monday and hold talks with the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince on ways to deepen bilateral cooperation over climate change, national security and defence, and public health.
Asked whether the cancellation was related to the Covid-19 situation in the UAE, the official replied that the latter side did not give the exact reason for the cancellation.
On Sunday, South Korea signed a preliminary deal with the UAE to sell Seoul's midrange surface-to-air missiles to the Gulf nation, in the latest sign of deepening defence cooperation between the two nations.
The deal was signed after Moon held talks with UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai, Seoul's presidential office said without providing further details, including the value of the memorandum of understanding.
The UAE is the first leg of Moon's three-nation trip to the Middle East that will also take him to Saudi Arabia, as well as Egypt.
Moon will visit Riyadh on Tuesday and hold talks with Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.