On Monday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol is set to embark on a state visit to Britain. During his trip, he hopes to strengthen economic ties and improve security partnerships with the country in order to counter growing threats from North Korea and other regional challenges.
Yoon’s visit will be the first state visit to Britain since the coronation of King Charles and comes as North Korea appears to be making final preparations for another attempt to launch its first spy satellite. In an interview with the Telegraph newspaper, Yoon explained that the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, as well as growing ties between Russia and North Korea and tensions in the South China Sea, forced him to seek “very close security cooperation” with the West.
During his time in Britain, Yoon will be welcomed with much fanfare and ceremony. He will receive a guard of honor and ride in a procession to Buckingham Palace on Monday. On Wednesday, he will hold talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on expanding their bilateral partnership. According to the Telegraph, Yoon expressed hope for deeper cooperation with Britain on a range of geopolitical risks including supply chains and energy security.
Bilateral trade between South Korea and Britain was worth $12.1 billion last year, fifth among European countries. Yoon’s spokesman Lee Do-woon noted that there is more room for economic cooperation between the two countries. From Britain, Yoon will head to France for a visit aimed at boosting support for South Korea to host the 2030 World Expo. The host of the fair is expected to be decided this month by a vote of member states of the International Bureau of Exhibitions, which has its headquarters in Paris.