November 30, 2023 1:24 am

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol is set to embark on a state visit to Britain from Monday, hoping to strengthen economic ties and enhance security partnerships in the face of North Korea’s evolving threats and other regional challenges.

During an interview with The Telegraph newspaper, Yoon said the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, as well as growing Russia-North Korea ties and tensions in the South China Sea, had forced him to seek “very close security cooperation” with the West.

Yoon’s four-day trip will be the first state visit hosted by Britain since the coronation of King Charles, and will include a guard of honor and a carriage procession to Buckingham Palace. He will hold talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday and sign an accord 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.

Following his visit to Britain, Yoon will head 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 this month by member states of the International Bureau of Expositions, based in Paris.

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