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Lee Myung-bak Calls for ‘Second Middle East Boom’

Grand National Party presidential front-runner Lee Myung-bak on Tuesday said Korea should ignite “a second Middle East boom” to achieve economic growth through creative leadership. Lee, who is in Dubai, told reporters that the first Middle East boom helped Korea overcome the oil shock in the 1970s, a time when he was the chairman of Hyundai Engineering and Construction.

Lee said Dubai has become a hub of logistics, tourism and services through creative and imaginative leadership, although it produces less oil than other petroleum exporters. He said Korea can also overcome the lack of natural resources and its geographic disadvantage of being sandwiched between China and Japan, and make a second great economic leap forward with leaders who capitalize on creativity. As a way to kindle a second Middle East boom, he proposed attracting oil money from the Gulf to massive development projects in Korea’s Gyeongsang and Jeolla Provinces, and to encourage Korean companies to undertake yet more plant construction in the Middle East.

After visiting Korean company Hyundai Mobis’ logistics center in the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority, the former Seoul mayor will meet with Dubai ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum who is largely credited for the Dubai “miracle.” Lee said that he will ask the Dubai ruler to take an interest in Korea, adding he and the sheik have something in common as “globally renowned CEOs.”

 

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