Yoon to attend APEC summit in San Francisco, visit Britain, France, Netherlands

November 8, 2023

President Yoon Suk Yeol will visit San Francisco next week to attend a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, before making separate visits to Britain, France and the Netherlands in the coming weeks, his office said Wednesday.

Yoon and first lady Kim Keon Hee will depart next Wednesday for a three-day visit to San Francisco, during which the president will attend a summit of the 21-member APEC forum and hold bilateral meetings on the sidelines, Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo told a press briefing.

This file photo provided by the presidential office shows President Yoon Suk Yeol. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
This file photo provided by the presidential office shows President Yoon Suk Yeol. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

This year’s gathering is being held under the theme “Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All,” and Yoon will use the first session on Nov. 16 to stress South Korea’s commitment to contributing to the transition to clean energy and to overcoming the climate crisis, according to the official.

Yoon will also attend the second session, or the leaders’ retreat, the next day, to talk about the need for APEC members to work together to restore the multilateral trade system, strengthen regional supply chains and establish a digital moral code.

“President Yoon’s attendance at the APEC meeting will be an occasion to enhance the status of the Republic of Korea, which fulfills its responsibilities and contributions in terms of regional and global issues, and to deepen cooperation with members of APEC, which is the world’s largest regional cooperation body,” Kim, the deputy national security adviser, said, referring to South Korea by its formal name.

On the event’s margins, Yoon will hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of other APEC members, and details will be announced at a later date.

He will also host a meeting with Korean residents in San Francisco, attend an APEC CEOs summit and meet with young Korean leaders working in the cutting-edge technology field.

The president will then return to Seoul on Nov. 18 before departing again on Nov. 20 to pay a four-day state visit to London at the invitation of King Charles III. Yoon will be Britain’s first state guest since the king’s coronation in May. The visit will come as the two countries mark the 140th anniversary of relations this year.

Some of the highlights will take place on Nov. 21, starting with an official welcoming ceremony that will involve Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, coming to Yoon and the first lady’s guesthouse to take them to Horse Guards Parade.

The ceremony will be followed by a luncheon at Buckingham Palace hosted by King Charles and attended by some 50 people.

Later that day, Yoon will give a speech before the British parliament on the beginnings of the South Korea-Britain relationship and the way forward. The speech will likely be delivered in English, according to a presidential official.

A state dinner will also be held the same day at Buckingham Palace, with the attendance of some 180 people.

On Nov. 22, the third day of Yoon’s visit, the president is scheduled to hold a summit with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and discuss ways to strengthen strategic cooperation in a wide range of areas, including digital technology, artificial intelligence, cyber security, nuclear power, the defense industry, semiconductors and space.

On the occasion of the summit, the two countries will adopt a South Korea-Britain Accord outlining the direction of future bilateral cooperation.

According to senior presidential secretary for economic affairs Choi Sang-mok, Yoon plans to discuss ways to improve the South Korea-Britain free trade agreement to facilitate South Korean businesses’ entry into the British market following its exit from the European Union.

Yoon will be accompanied on the visit by a business delegation, with the names set to be announced later, Choi said at a separate press briefing.

On Nov. 23, Yoon will visit the Churchill War Rooms museum before exchanging farewell greetings with King Charles at Buckingham Palace.

From London, Yoon will head to Paris to make a final pitch for South Korea’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo in its southeastern city of Busan.

During a three-day stay, Yoon plans to meet with officials from member states of the Bureau International des Expositions, the body in charge of overseeing the World Expo, to seek their support ahead of the Nov. 28 vote that will decide the host of the 2030 event.

Yoon and the first lady will depart France on Nov. 25 and return home early on Nov. 26.

The deputy national security adviser also announced the dates of Yoon’s upcoming state visit to the Netherlands, saying it will take place on Dec. 12 and 13 at the invitation of King Willem-Alexander.

Yoon will be the first South Korean president to pay a state visit to the European nation since the two sides established diplomatic relations in 1961.

The two-day visit will include a welcoming ceremony, a meeting with the leaders of both chambers of the Dutch parliament, a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and an MOU (memorandum of understanding) signing ceremony.