South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol and First Lady Kim Kun-hee begin a three-day visit to the United Kingdom on Tuesday to host King Charles III’s first state visit since his coronation.
Mr. Yoon is expected to attend a state dinner at Buckingham Palace, have lunch with the royal couple and Queen Camilla, and receive full red carpet treatment.
But it is also about business, with Chancellor Yoon and Chancellor Rishi Sunak expected to agree to deepen cooperation and begin negotiations on an upgraded free trade agreement.
“Trade and investment is expected to be a key focus of the visit, with trade ministers from both countries on Wednesday announcing plans to begin negotiations on an upgraded, world-leading modern free trade agreement (FTA). We are preparing to sign the agreement.” Downing Street.
After leaving the European Union, the UK government is keen to strike new deals with countries around the world, particularly the fast-growing economies of the Indo-Pacific region.
President Yoon is scheduled to address parliament during the trip, which the Prime Minister’s Office said is “a sign that London views Seoul as an important partner for global cooperation and the Indo-Pacific region.”
According to South Korean media, Yoon is scheduled to give a speech in English about the bilateral relationship between the two countries and how to strengthen the relationship in the future.
– Defense related –
Charles’ eldest son and heir, Prince William, and Duchess Kate will greet visitors on Tuesday morning and take part in an official welcome ceremony at Horse Guards Parade in central London.
The couple will then receive full royal treatment and attend a grand state banquet at a nearby palace.
This is the first time the king has hosted an official visit since he was officially coronated in May.
According to local media, Yun told a cabinet meeting last week that “this visit will be a starting point for further deepening economic cooperation between our two countries.”
He added that the cooperation will focus on science and technology, with South Korea aiming to expand business opportunities and supply chains for high-tech industries.
Yoon is expected to be accompanied by major business figures such as Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong and Hyundai Motor Company President Jeong Eui-sun.
Ahead of his visit, Mr Sunak said: “The UK and South Korea are natural partners as both countries are committed to innovation, harnessing new technology and defending the international rules-based order.”
Britain last year began talks on an enhanced free trade agreement to upgrade an existing agreement that would replicate the EU agreement with South Korea.
UK ministers are focusing on expanding exports in digital, business and financial services.
Total trade in goods and services between the UK and South Korea totaled 16.1 billion pounds ($20.1 billion) in the year to the end of the second quarter of this year.
Defense co-operation will also be on the agenda, with both countries pledging to step up joint training and operations “to create the most comprehensive exercise regime with any partner other than the UK and the US”, Downing Street said.
The science ministers of both countries are also expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on space cooperation.