South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol arrives at Buckingham Palace for a state visit in London on Monday. The trip aims to strengthen economic ties and enhance security partnerships with the UK to counter North Korea’s evolving threats and other regional challenges. During his four-day visit, Yoon will be met with pomp and ceremony, including a guard of honour and carriage procession. He will hold talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday and adopt an accord on expanding their bilateral partnership. Yoon has expressed hope for deeper cooperation with Britain on an array of geopolitical risks, including supply chains and energy security.
Yoon’s visit comes after his return from the APEC summit in San Francisco, where he called for a coordinated response to growing military ties between North Korea and Russia. From the UK, he will head to France for a 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, which is based in Paris.
The president’s visit to Britain highlights South Korea’s increasing focus on strengthening its relationships with Western countries as it faces growing tensions from North Korea and other regional challenges. Yoon has expressed concern that Russia’s involvement with North Korea could lead to an arms race in the region, which would have dire consequences for global stability. To counter these threats, he has sought closer ties with countries like the UK that share his concerns about regional security issues.