South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol is traveling to Britain for a state visit, hoping to strengthen economic ties and deepen security partnerships with the UK to counter North Korea’s evolving threats and other regional challenges. The four-day trip will be Yoon’s first state visit hosted by Britain since the coronation of King Charles, and comes at a time when North Korea appears to be preparing for another attempt at launching its first spy satellite.
In an interview with The Telegraph newspaper, Yoon said that the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, as well as growing Russia-North Korea ties and tensions in the South China Sea, have compelled him to seek closer security cooperation with the West. During his visit, Yoon will meet with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday and sign an agreement expanding their bilateral partnership.
The president has expressed hope for greater cooperation with Britain on a range of geopolitical risks, including supply chains and energy security. According to The Telegraph, bilateral trade between the two countries was worth $12.1 billion last year, making it fifth among European countries.
Yoon’s visit comes after his return from the APEC summit in San Francisco, where he called for coordinated action against growing military ties between North Korea and Russia. From Britain, Yoon will head to France for a visit aimed at bolstering support for South Korea’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo. The expo host is expected to be decided this month by a vote of member states of the International Bureau of Expositions, which is based in Paris.