Korea, UK Agree to Elevate Ties to Highest Level
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Korea, UK Agree to Elevate Ties to Highest Level
Attendees at the conferences included KOSDAQ’s 12 blue-chip companies, designed as those in the KOSDAQ global segment

26(Sun), Nov, 2023

President Yoon Suk-yeol holds summit talks U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the prime minister’s residence of 10 Downing Street in London on Nov. 22. (Photo: Yonhap News Agency)

President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak held summit talks on Nov. 22 and adopted the so-called Downing Street Accord. The pact deepens bilateral ties in all areas, such as defense, science & technology, trade and energy security. 

President Yoon’s state visit to the United Kingdom lays the foundation for a stronger and more fruitful bilateral relationship, experts say, building upon a relationship which spans over 140 years. 

Both sides agreed to inaugurate a “2+2 foreign and defense ministers’ dialogue” and implement a combined 45 tasks, including eight in the security sector, 26 in the economy field and 11 in the future segment.

The Presidential Office said, “It is an expression of determination on the part of the UK, Europe’s representative country, and Korea, a core country in the Indian-Pacific to cope with global strategic task on the occasion of the 140th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.”

President Yoon and U.K. Prime Minister Sunak held summit talks at 10 Downing Street. The Downing Street Accord, signed by the two leaders, was named after the prime minister’s residence. 

According to the accord, both countries denounced North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and missiles and opposed military relations related to the transfer of all kinds of weapons between North Korea and Russia. 

The two countries agreed to strengthen and support the United Nations Security Council’s resolution of restricting the funding of North Korea’ ballistic missile and nuclear development programs. 

South Korea, serving as a non-permanent U.N. Security Council member until 2024, is stepping up ties with permanent U.N. Security Council members, such as the UK, the United States and France. 

Under the accord, the two countries agreed to upgrade their ties to a “global strategic partnership” in 10 years. In particular, both sides are ramping up their strategic relationships in national defense and defense industry sectors. 

The United Kingdom is the third country with which Korea has established a 2+2 foreign and defense ministers’ dialogue, following the United States and Australia. 

Both countries also struck the “Korea-U.K. strategic cyber partnership,” expanding countermeasures to cope with security threats to the cyber security sector. 

In a briefing, Kim Tae-hyo, deputy chief at the Presidential National Security Office, said, “The partnership is evaluated to serve a bridge to build a cyber security cooperation network Korea had previously established with the United Sates and the “Five Eyes” countries, including the U.S, and UK, Canada and Australia.” 

Korea and the UK also agreed to strengthen cooperation in the defense industry by signing an MOU on joint defense industry exports. 

In the science and technology sector, Korea agreed with the UK to ramp up cooperation in AI, digital, advanced bio, space cooperation and quantum technology. 

In particular, the agreement on the next-generation quantum technology sector may include a military strategic deal designed to incapacitate strikes by disrupting attempts to fire missiles or influencing missile paths. 

In the economic sector, both sides agreed to begin negotiations to step up a free trade agreement. 

President Yoon told the Korea-UK Business Forum, which was held on the same day, that their views will be reflected in the course of negotiating the FTA, and new rules in areas, such as the digital, supply chains, and energy sectors will be established. 

Both sides will create the grounds for mutual success, President Yoon said. 

President Yoon, in Paris, to Make Final Push for Korea’s 2030 World Expo

President Yoon Suk-yeol arrived in Paris on Nov. 23 to boost Korea's bid to host the 2030 World Expo. Yoon is to meet with delegates from member states of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) during his three-day stay here. 

The meetings will take place over dinner, lunch and an evening reception. 

Busan is competing against Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Rome, Italy, to host Expo 2030. The winner will be decided in a vote during BIE’s general meeting slated for Nov. 28. 

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