The President of South Korea has warned that the world is facing a ‘polycrisis’ made up of multiple conflicts and threats.
On the eve of his state visit to the UK, President Yoon Suk Yeol called for deeper security ties with Britain amidst an unstable world.
Due to two major wars – in Ukraine and Israel – as well as increasing tension with Russia and North Korea, and in the South China Sea, the president is seeking support from the West.
Mr Yoon’s arrival in the UK on Monday will mark the first state visit since King Charles III’s coronation.
He is due to meet the king on Tuesday and Rishi Sunak on Wednesday, when it’s likely the two leaders will discuss defence cooperation.
The president told The Telegraph: ‘If the international community is to build peace and achieve sustainable prosperity, it must safeguard and strengthen the rules-based international order above all else.
‘We are currently facing a polycrisis that includes pandemics, climate change, the war in Ukraine and the armed conflict between Israel-Hamas.’
He also talked about other crises and threats, including Russia supplying North Korea with nuclear weapons technology. He added that he believes China is wary of aligning too closely with Moscow and Pyongyang.
South Korea is also grappling with a clash over Taiwan and disputes in the South China Sea.
Mr Yoon is now calling for greater trade links with the UK after Brexit.
Facing these multiple threats, the president has led South Korea to strengthen its links with Nato and have ‘very close security cooperation’ with the members of Aukus, which is the trilateral defence pact forged with the UK, US and Australia.
Mr Yoon will meet company executives at Mansion House in London on Wednesday to talk about future opportunities around deepening defence as well as business and investment.
He will then meet Mr Sunak in at 10 Downing Street in the afternoon, where it’s likely the pair will discuss the strengthening collaboration between Russia and North Korea.
For the last few months South Korean and US intelligence has warned that North Korea is supplying weapons to Russia as it continues waging war in Ukraine.
And this is, according to intelligence, possibly in exchange for help with Pyongyang’s increasing nuclear missile programme.
Mr Yoon continued: ‘North Korea’s provision of weapons to Russia will only prolong the war in Ukraine and increase the number of casualties.
‘In addition, if Russia offers military technologies to North Korea in return, it would threaten the security of the Republic of Korea and regional peace.’
The president has warned that both wars in Ukraine and the Middle East could spark more instability in the Korean Peninsula.
Mr Yoon added: ‘My upcoming state visit will serve as a catalyst for Korea to emerge as one of the United Kingdom’s global strategic partners.’
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