South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol is currently on a three-day state visit to the UK, where he is expected to strengthen trade and defense ties between the two countries. The visit aims to further consolidate Britain’s “Indo-Pacific tilt” in foreign and trade policy. During his stay, Yoon will be treated with both royal and diplomatic pomp, including a ceremonial welcome with military honor guards, an opportunity to address Parliament, and a state banquet hosted by King Charles III at Buckingham Palace.
During his talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the president will focus 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. The defense cooperation includes plans for joint naval patrols to enforce U.N. 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. The high-quality chips are currently primarily produced in Taiwan, which due to concerns about future supply has been highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic and an increasingly assertive China.
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 is significant as it marks the first time a South Korean president has visited the UK since 2013.