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Prime Minister Han meets with Britain's deputy prime minister in London

By Yonhap

Published : May 6, 2023 - 12:43

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South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo poses for photos with Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden before their meeting at Dowden's office in London on Friday. (Pool Photo) (Yonhap) South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo poses for photos with Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden before their meeting at Dowden's office in London on Friday. (Pool Photo) (Yonhap)

South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo has met with Britain's new Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden during his visit to the country to attend King Charles III's coronation.

During the 40-minute meeting at the British government's central office building in London on Friday, the two leaders discussed strengthening cooperation in the fields of economic security, nuclear power and renewable energy, and raised the need to start negotiations on a free trade agreement between the two countries by the end of this year, Han's office said.

The closest political ally to the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Dowden was named his new deputy on April 21 right after Dominic Raab resigned from the position.

Dowden expressed his hope for comprehensive security cooperation, including on cybersecurity, economic security and energy security, a South Korean government official said on condition of anonymity during a press briefing to Korean reporters.

Han responded that he wants to strengthen cooperation with Britain, a country that shares values, such as democracy and the rule of law, the official added.

The two leaders also agreed to explore cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, citing Britain's ambitious agenda for cooperation with countries in the region and South Korea's adoption of its Indo-Pacific strategy at the end of last year.

They also discussed Ukraine and agreed to continue working together to support international efforts for peace in the region.

Dowden introduced his daughter as a fan of BLACKPINK, the biggest K-pop girl group currently, during the meeting.

The quartet will become the first K-pop act to headline the British Summer Time Hyde Park, one of the largest British music festivals, in July in London.

In the evening, Han attended a reception at Buckingham Palace, hosted by King Charles. The prime minister also had a series of meetings with leaders of three African countries -- Malawi, Sierra Leone and The Gambia -- on the sidelines of the visit.

He asked for their support for the South Korean port city of Busan's bid to host the 2030 World Expo while stressing Seoul's hope to create sustainable and long-term cooperative relationships with the African countries, according to his office.

The prime minister is scheduled to attend the coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey on Saturday as part of his weeklong trip to Europe that also includes stops in Sweden, Austria and Romania. (Yonhap)