South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol is currently on a three-day state visit to the U.K. during which he will strengthen trade and defense ties between the two countries. The visit is aimed at further consolidating Britain’s “Indo-Pacific tilt” in foreign and trade policy. Yoon will be treated with both royal and diplomatic pomp, including a ceremonial welcome with military honor guards, the opportunity to address Parliament, and a state banquet hosted by King Charles III at Buckingham Palace.
During his visit, the president will hold talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Their discussions will focus on trade, technology, and defense, including an agreement on cooperation regarding defense and technology with a specific emphasis on artificial intelligence. The two countries are also looking to sign an agreement on joint naval patrols to enforce U.N. sanctions on North Korea and invest in South Korean semiconductor manufacturing as part of international efforts to diversify the supply of computer components. This high-quality chips are currently primarily produced in Taiwan, which has been highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic and an increasingly assertive China due to concerns about future supply.
The outcome of Yoon’s visit is anticipated to drive investment, boost trade, and create a lasting friendship in order to maintain global stability and protect the interests of both countries. Britain has been engaged in trade talks with several countries post its exit from the EU in 2020. Although it has only managed to finalize deals with Australia and New Zealand so far, it also joined the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The UK government is committed to pursuing new free trade agreements (FTAs) that support economic growth and job creation while upholding high standards for workers’ rights, environmental protection, and public health.