South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol is heading to Britain for a state visit, hoping to strengthen economic ties and enhance security partnerships with the country. His four-day trip, which begins on Monday, will be the first state visit hosted by Britain since the coronation of King Charles.
During an interview with The Telegraph newspaper, Yoon said that recent events such as the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, as well as growing tensions between Russia and North Korea and regional challenges in the South China Sea, had prompted him to seek “very close security cooperation” with the West.
Yoon will be greeted with pomp and ceremony upon his arrival in Britain. He will receive a guard of honor and ride in a carriage procession to Buckingham Palace, according to palace officials. On Wednesday, he will hold talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and adopt an accord on expanding their bilateral partnership.
The two countries have significant economic ties, with bilateral trade worth $12.1 billion last year, fifth among European countries. Yoon has expressed hope for deeper cooperation with Britain on geopolitical risks such as supply chains and energy security.
After his visit to Britain, Yoon will head to France for another visit aimed at bolstering support for South Korea’s hosting of 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, whose headquarters is in Paris.