The UK and South Korea have agreed to sign a new Downing Street Accord, a major long-term partnership that will redefine and strengthen their ties for the next generation. The accord, which follows similar agreements with Singapore and Japan earlier this year, will deepen cooperation between the two countries on technology, defense and security.
The accord was signed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and President Yoon Suk Yeol at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday, following a three-day state visit by the Korean leader. The visit coincided with the 140th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the UK and Korea, as well as the 70th anniversary of the armistice of the Korean War.
The accord covers a range of areas of mutual interest, such as trade and investment, climate change, digital economy, cyber security, maritime security, nuclear non-proliferation and regional stability. The two countries aim to enhance their collaboration on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology and quantum computing, as well as on green energy and infrastructure projects.
The accord also reaffirms the UK’s commitment to support South Korea’s efforts to achieve peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula, in line with its longstanding policy of engagement with North Korea. The UK has been a consistent ally of South Korea in addressing various challenges posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes, as well as its human rights violations.
The UK-South Korea relationship has been forged over more than a century of shared history and values. The two countries have been close partners in various fields since their diplomatic relations were established in 1949. They have also been active members of various regional and global organisations, such as ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), East Asia Summit (EAS), United Nations (UN) Security Council (UNSC) and G7.
The new Downing Street Accord is expected to further enhance the strategic partnership between the UK and South Korea in the 21st century. It will also provide stability under a no-deal Brexit scenario for both countries’ trade relations. According to Trade Secretary Liz Truss, “This is a historic moment for our friendship with South Korea. We are delighted to sign this new Downing Street Accord that will redefine our partnership for future generations.”