Korea, Britain sign ‘Downing Street Accord’ to raise ties to highest level Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, left, and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak shake hands after signing the ″Downing Street Accord″ during their bilateral summit at 10 Downing Street in London on Wednesday. [JOINT PRESS CORPS] Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak signed the “Downing Street Accord” on Wednesday, elevating bilateral relations to a “global strategic partnership.” Yoon and Sunak held a bilateral summit at the prime minister’s office in 10 Downing Street in London, inspiring the name of the accord, which aimed to raise the two countries’ ties to the “highest level of strategic ambition, to endure for this century and beyond.” The agreement covered strengthening and deepening collaboration in defense and security, science and technology and prosperity, trade and energy security. Addressing threats to international order, they called to “invest in conventional deterrence and defense, and to adapt our capabilities to meet new challenges.” The two countries jointly “condemned” North Korea’s “unlawful nuclear and missile development that poses a serious threat to international peace and security,” urging the regime to abandon all its nuclear weapons and any other weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs “in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.” They also opposed “all forms of arms transfer and related military cooperation” between the North and Russia. South Korea and Britain agreed to establish a new “two plus two” foreign and defense ministerial meeting to deepen security ties and better address regional and global challenges. They will work to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on developing a comprehensive institutional framework for deeper defense cooperation, and increase interoperability between their armed forces through further bilateral exercises. They will also establish a strategic cyber partnership to develop key capabilities and closer coordination to counter and deter cyber threats and build resilience. The accord calls for conducting joint patrols to enforce international sanctions against North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and for the two countries to further share maritime security related information. In economic security, the accord recognized deepened collaboration in the digital sector, semiconductor supply chain resilience and space cooperation. The two sides welcomed the launch of the bilateral digital partnership, which will “foster collaboration across shared priorities, including telecoms supply chain diversification, semiconductors, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.” In pursuit of a sustainable, secure and resilient future, Korean and Britain committed to “holistically addressing energy security, the climate crisis, and risks to the supply of affordable, clean energy.” They signed a Korea-U.K. Clean Energy Partnership to share expertise and experience and collaborate on the deployment of clean energies, particular offshore wind and civil nuclear, in both countries and in third countries. They also agreed to establish a Critical Minerals Joint Working Group to work towards establishing an MOU on enhancing research, innovation and encouraging partnerships between companies, industrial bodies and academic institutions. “Our new global strategic partnership, the Downing Street Accord, marks 140 years of diplomatic relations between our nations, as well as the 70th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice,” the agreement read, highlighted the two countries shared values and deep historical foundations. “The ability to innovate and achieve strategic advantage is increasingly central to both our future prosperity and our economic security.” Yoon was on a four-day state visit to Britain since Monday upon the invitation of King Charles III. BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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