South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol has kicked off a three-day state visit to the UK, with strengthening trade and defense ties being a key focus. The visit aims to further solidify 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, Yoon will discuss trade, technology, and defense. The two countries are looking to sign an agreement on cooperation regarding defense and technology, specifically focusing on artificial intelligence. 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. High-quality chips are currently primarily produced in Taiwan, which has been highlighted due to concerns about future supply and an increasingly assertive China.
The outcome of Yoon’s visit is expected to drive investment, boost trade, and create a lasting friendship that will help maintain global stability and protect the interests of both countries.