SEOUL —— The head of a major Middle Eastern development company flew to North Korea Wednesday, and a South Korean report said he may be looking at investment opportunities.
Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties based in the United Arab Emirates, used his own plane for the trip from South Korea, an education foundation official said.
It was the first time a private plane had been allowed to fly from Seoul to Pyongyang through a west coast route that opened in 2000 for official trips.
The official, from the Sun Moon Education Foundation run by the Unification Church, said Alabbar flew to Pyongyang after receiving an honorary doctorate in law from Sun Moon University in South Korea.
During his first trip to the communist state he was to visit a world peace centre and a hotel, which are run by South Korea’s Tongil business group founded by Unification Church leader Sun Myung Moon.
Yonhap news agency quoted sources as saying Alabbar’s trip might be related to future investment in the communist country.
“At North Korea’s invitation, he is staying briefly there. It’s early to say whether he will hold serious business talks with North Korean officials,” the official told AFP.
Later Wednesday Alabbar, credited with helping transform Dubai into the hub of the Middle East, is to fly to the Chinese city of Dalian for a business forum.