President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea 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.
Since leaving the EU in 2020, the U.K. has been actively pursuing trade talks with multiple countries, with agreements finalized only with Australia and New Zealand thus far. During his visit, Yoon will meet with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to discuss trade, technology, and defense, including an “upgraded” free trade agreement.
The two leaders are also expected to sign an agreement covering cooperation in defense and technology, including artificial intelligence. Additionally, the U.K. plans to invest in South Korean semiconductor manufacturing, part of international efforts to diversify the supply of computer components. The two countries will boost defense cooperation, including 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 U.K. and South Korea. During his stay, Yoon will be treated with various forms of ceremonial and diplomatic treatment, such as a ceremonial welcome with military honor guards and a speech to Parliament followed by a state banquet hosted by King Charles III at Buckingham Palace