South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol arrived in the U.K. for a three-day state visit, during which he will focus on strengthening trade and defense ties between the two countries. The visit is of particular interest to Britain as it hopes to solidify its “Indo-Pacific tilt” in foreign and trade policy.
President Yoon’s visit includes various forms of ceremonial and diplomatic treatment, such as a ceremonial welcome with military honor guards, a speech to Parliament, and a state banquet hosted by King Charles III at Buckingham Palace. His talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will cover trade, technology, and defense, with the two countries officially launching discussions on an “upgraded” free trade agreement.
The U.K., since leaving the EU in 2020, has been actively pursuing trade talks with multiple countries, with agreements finalized only with Australia and New Zealand thus far. However, during his visit, President Yoon is expected to sign an agreement covering cooperation in defense and technology, including artificial intelligence. Additionally, the two leaders plan to invest in South Korean semiconductor manufacturing and boost defense cooperation by participating in joint naval patrols to enforce U.N. sanctions on North Korea.
These agreements made during Yoon’s visit are expected to drive investment, boost trade, and build a long-term friendship between the U.K. and South Korea