South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol embarked on a three-day state visit to the UK, with the main focus being on strengthening trade and defense ties between the two countries. This visit holds great significance for Britain as it aims to solidify its “Indo-Pacific tilt” in foreign and trade policy.
During his stay, Yoon will receive 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 discussions with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will cover trade, technology, and defense, with the two countries officially launching talks on an “upgraded” free trade agreement.
Since leaving the EU in 2020, the UK has been actively pursuing trade talks with multiple countries, with agreements finalized only with Australia and New Zealand thus far. The two leaders are also expected to sign an agreement covering cooperation in defense and technology, including artificial intelligence.
The UK plans to invest in South Korean semiconductor manufacturing as part of international efforts to diversify the supply of computer components. Additionally, the two countries will boost defense cooperation by implementing joint naval patrols to enforce U.N. sanctions on North Korea.
The agreements made during Yoon’s visit are expected to drive investment, boost trade and build a long-term friendship between the UK and South Korea.