Yoon concludes U.K. visit with new accord, bids farewell to King Charles Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol, center right, accompanied by first lady Kim Keon Hee, bids farewell to Britain’s King Charles III, center left, and Queen Camilla at Buckingham Palace in London Thursday on the last day of Yoon’s four-day state visit. He heads next to France. [JOINT PRESS CORPS] Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol concluded his four-day visit to Britain Thursday, an opportunity to strengthen the two countries’ strategic partnership, bidding a final farewell to King Charles III at Buckingham Palace in London. Earlier in the morning, the Korean presidential couple was picked up by a Bentley state limousine, and Yoon and first lady Kim Keon Hee said their formal farewells to King Charles and Queen Camilla at the palace. “I am pleased to open a new chapter of cooperation in the fields of security, economy and science with the United Kingdom, respecting tradition and achieving innovation,” Yoon said to the king, which he added will be beneficial to the people of both countries. Thanking the king for his consideration, Yoon promised to support Britain’s efforts to build a more sustainable world. Yoon and the king met for three consecutive days, including the ceremonial welcome and state banquets Tuesday and a ceremony to present K-pop girl group Blackpink members with honorary Members of the British Empire (MBEs) at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday. They later headed to Paris for the second leg of a weeklong trip to Europe to make a final pitch for Busan’s bid to host World Expo 2030. In his three-day trip to Paris, Yoon will host luncheon and dinner events and a Korea National Day Reception for BIE representatives from each country. Members of the Paris-headquartered Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) general assembly will cast their ballots on Nov. 28 to choose the host city. Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, left, and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sign the ″Downing Street Accord″ during their bilateral summit at 10 Downing Street in London on Wednesday. [JOINT PRESS CORPS] President Yoon and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak signed the “Downing Street Accord” on Wednesday, elevating bilateral relations to a “global strategic partnership” through enhancing ties in security, technology and trade. Yoon and Sunak held a bilateral summit at the prime minister’s office at 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 political document, detailing the future direction of Korea-U.K. relations by specifying 45 tasks, called for strengthening and deepening collaboration in defense and security, science and technology and prosperity, trade and energy security. The upgraded relations come a decade after the two sides established a “broad and creative partnership” during the Park Geun-hye administration in 2013. “I believe that there is nothing we can’t do in terms of economic cooperation or scientific and technological collaboration because our camaraderie is forged in blood,” Yoon said in his opening remarks at the summit as the two countries mark the 140th anniversary of bilateral ties. “Your state visit underlies the deep partnership and friendship between our two countries, and the signing of the Downing Street Accord today strengthens that friendship,” Sunak said. Addressing threats to international order, they called on both sides 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. They also condemned the “abhorrent terrorist attacks perpetrated” by the militant group Hamas on Oct. 7 and said they “remain committed to making progress toward a two-state solution.” They strongly opposed any unilateral attempt to change the status quo in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait. 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. Korea has such two-plus-two ministerial dialogues with two other countries, the United States and Australia. 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. Related Article From Shakespeare to K-pop, Yoon and King Charles celebrate partnership in state banquet Korea, Britain sign ‘Downing Street Accord’ to raise ties to highest level Yoon’s state visit a ‘crowning moment’ in thriving Korea-U.K. ties Korean president gets a royal welcome during state visit to Britain 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, Korea 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 deploying clean energies, particularly offshore wind and civil nuclear, in both countries and third countries. They also agreed to establish a Critical Minerals Joint Working Group to work toward establishing an MOU on enhancing research and innovation and encouraging partnerships between companies, industrial bodies and academic institutions. The two sides agreed to open negotiations to strengthen and modernize the current bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), hastily implemented in 2021 after Brexit, “to reflect the importance of emerging trade agendas such as supply chain resilience, digital economy, and energy cooperation.” “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, highlighting 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.” The signing of a Korea-U.K. Strategic Cyber Partnership, the first of its kind, strengthens the cyber ecosystem and enables detection, disruption and deterrence of malicious cyber threats, including against the North’s illegal cyber activities. Korea believes this agreement will “serve as a bridge to build a cyber security cooperation network” with the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, comprised of Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, the presidential office said. President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks at the U.K.-Korea business forum at Mansion House in London on Wednesday. [PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE] Earlier Wednesday, Yoon spoke at a Korea-U.K. business forum at Mansion House in London attended by 200 business leaders from both countries. The two sides signed 31 MOUs in energy, artificial intelligence, construction, defense and other sectors. Yoon later stressed plans to invest in research and development budget in a forum for scientists from Korea and Britain. Korea and Britain will run a three-year joint research program for researchers from both countries starting next year, amounting to 4.5 million pounds ($5.6 million), according to the presidential office. The two sides also sealed MOUs on science and technology, space, and digital technology. Yoon and first lady Kim Keon Hee later attended a banquet at the Guildhall in central London hosted by Lord Mayor of the City of London, Michael Mainelli. Yoon said Korea and Britain will open a brighter future together and toasted to an “eternal friendship and endless development of the two countries.” Yoon began a four-day state visit to Britain from Monday at the invitation of King Charles. From left, Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, Lord Mayor of the City of London Michael Mainelli and Korean first lady wife Kim Keon Hee listen to South Korea’s national anthem during a banquet at the Guildhall in London Wednesday. [REUTERS/YONHAP] BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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