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Yoon plans state visits to UK, Netherlands later this year

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : Sept. 26, 2023 - 16:07

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President Yoon Suk Yeol shakes hands with King Charles III of England at a reception held at Buckingham Palace during the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II in London in September, 2022. (Yonhap) President Yoon Suk Yeol shakes hands with King Charles III of England at a reception held at Buckingham Palace during the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II in London in September, 2022. (Yonhap)

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol will embark on state visits to the United Kingdom in November and the Netherlands in December, according to the presidential office on Tuesday.

Yoon's office said the visit to the UK, made at the invitation of King Charles III, is significant as it is the first state visit since King Charles III's coronation earlier this year, and marks the 140th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The visit to the Netherlands, made at the invitation of King Willem-Alexander, is also meaningful as it is the first state visit by a Korean president since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations in 1961.

The exact dates for the two visits will be announced at a later time.

As for the UK, this marks the first state visit by a Korean president in 10 years, following former President Park Geun-hye's visit in 2013. Prior to that, former President Roh Moo-hyun visited the nation on a state visit in 2004.

Yoon had his initial summit meeting with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during the G20 summit in Hiroshima in May. They also had an informal meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Lithuania in July. During the G7 summit, the two leaders explored cooperation in areas such as nuclear power, digital partnerships, cyber security, the defense industry and semiconductors.

Last year, President Yoon visited England for two days, on Sept. 18 and 19, to attend the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

At the funeral, Charles III expressed his gratitude to President Yoon for visiting the UK and his hope to have an opportunity to visit South Korea again as it was a long time ago. Yoon responded that he is welcome anytime. The King visited South Korea in November 1992 with his then-wife, Diana, Princess of Wales.

President Yoon Suk Yeol shakes hands with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the presidential office in Seoul in November. (Yonhap) President Yoon Suk Yeol shakes hands with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the presidential office in Seoul in November. (Yonhap)

Regarding the Netherlands, Yoon met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the presidential office in Seoul in November last year. During their meeting, both leaders endorsed a joint statement to elevate bilateral ties and bolster partnerships in semiconductors and nuclear power generation. In the semiconductor sector, they agreed to intensify collaboration between Dutch chip equipment firms and Korean chip manufacturers, elevating it to an "alliance level."

During an April phone call with Rutte, Yoon expressed his appreciation to the Netherlands for being the first Western European country to endorse hosting the 2030 Busan Expo. Yoon also sought support for the Dutch chip equipment company ASML to establish a production facility in the human resource training and long-term repair cluster under construction in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province.