South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol is set to embark on a state visit to Britain next week, hoping to strengthen economic ties and enhance security partnerships with the UK. The four-day trip will be the first state visit hosted by Britain since the coronation of King Charles and comes at a time when North Korea appears to be making final preparations for another attempt at launching its first spy satellite.
During 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, had compelled him to seek “very close security cooperation” with the West.
The president’s visit will be filled with pomp and ceremony. He will receive a guard of honour upon arrival and ride in a carriage procession to Buckingham Palace. On Wednesday, he will hold talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and sign an accord on expanding their bilateral partnership.
Yoon has expressed hope for deeper cooperation with Britain on a range of geopolitical risks, including supply chains and energy security. The two countries have already established strong economic ties, with bilateral trade worth $12.1 billion last year, fifth among European countries.
Following his visit to Britain, Yoon will travel to France for another leg of his trip aimed at bolstering support for South Korea’s hosting of the 2030 World Expo. The decision on which country will host the expo is expected to be made this month by a vote of member states of the International Bureau of Expositions, which is based in Paris.