President Park Geun-hye arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Monday to attend the opening of a Korean-made nuclear reactor on Tuesday at a power plant being built there.
The reactor, built by Doosan Heavy Industries, is the first to be exported overseas.
Abu Dhabi crown prince Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan attended the ceremony as well.
Al Nahyan is deputy prime minister and younger brother of UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Korean companies have won US$18.6 billion worth of orders to export four reactors until 2020. Park flew to the UAE as part of efforts to establish a bridgehead for $20 billion worth of nuclear power plant-related contracts overseas.
Park then moved on to Abu Dhabi and met with the UAE president. Al Nahyan said his confidence in Park grew stronger when he saw her make the tough decision to fly to the UAE despite pressing work at home after the ferry disaster last month.
The two leaders signed several memorandums of understanding for the employment of Korean workers in designing, repairing, inspecting Korean-made reactors. They also discussed increased exchanges in the areas of energy supply, defense, healthcare and education.
Park also visited a Korean military unit that has been dispatched to the UAE and presented soldiers with a commemorative watch bearing her signature.