South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol has begun a three-day state visit to the UK, with strengthening trade and defense ties between the two countries being an important part of the trip. The visit aims to further consolidate Britain’s “Indo-Pacific tilt” in foreign and trade policy. During his stay, Yoon will be treated with royal and diplomatic pomp, which includes a ceremonial welcome with military honor guards, the opportunity to address Parliament, and a state banquet hosted by King Charles III at Buckingham Palace.
The president will hold talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during his visit, focusing on trade, technology, and defense. The two countries are looking to sign an agreement on cooperation regarding defense and technology, with a specific emphasis on artificial intelligence. Defense cooperation includes plans for joint naval patrols to enforce UN sanctions on North Korea. Additionally, Britain intends to invest in South Korean semiconductor manufacturing as part of international efforts to diversify the supply of computer components. 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. This visit comes after 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).