South Korean President Jun Suk-yeol is currently on a three-day state visit to Great Britain, where he will focus on strengthening trade and defense ties between the two countries. This visit is of particular interest to Britain as it seeks to cement its “Indo-Pacific tilt” in foreign and trade policy.
During his visit, Yoon will receive various forms of ceremonial and diplomatic treatment, including a formal reception with a military honor guard, a speech in 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, and the two countries have officially launched talks on an “upgraded” free trade agreement.
Since leaving the EU in 2020, the UK has been actively pursuing trade negotiations with a number of countries, with agreements only finalized so far with Australia and New Zealand. However, during Yoon’s visit, the two leaders are expected to sign an agreement covering defense and technology cooperation, including artificial intelligence.
The UK is also planning to invest in South Korean semiconductor manufacturing as part of an international effort to diversify the supply of computer components. Additionally, the two countries will step up their defense cooperation by conducting joint maritime patrols to enforce UN sanctions against North Korea.
Overall, the agreements reached during Yoon’s visit are expected to spark investment, boost trade, and build a long-term friendship between the UK and South Korea.