President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea has arrived in the United Kingdom on a formal three-day visit to strengthen trade and defense ties between the two countries. The visit is aimed at cementing an “Indo-Pacific tilt” in Britain’s foreign and trade policy. Yoon will be treated to royal and diplomatic ceremonies, including a ceremonial welcome, an address to Parliament, and a state banquet hosted by King Charles III at Buckingham Palace.
During his time in the U.K., Yoon will hold talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak focused on trade, technology, and defense. The two countries will officially launch talks on an “upgraded” free trade agreement to replace their current deal. Britain has been pursuing trade talks with several countries since leaving the EU, with deals already finalized with Australia and New Zealand. The U.K. has also joined the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
An agreement between Britain and South Korea covering cooperation in defense and technology, including artificial intelligence, is expected to be signed. Additionally, Britain plans to invest in South Korean semiconductor manufacturing to diversify the supply of key computer components. The two countries will also boost defense cooperation, including joint naval patrols to enforce U.N. sanctions on North Korea.
Prime Minister Sunak emphasized that the agreements made during Yoon’s visit would drive investment, boost trade, and build lasting friendship and global stability.