By Min Yea-Ji
President Yoon Suk Yeol from Sept. 18-24 will visit the U.K., the U.S. and Canada in that order.
National Security Office Director Kim Sung-han on Sept. 12 held a media briefing on the chief executive's itinerary at the presidential office in Seoul's Yongsan-gu District, saying, "The purpose of the tour is to strengthen solidarity among partner countries that share core values and expand the foundation of 'economic diplomacy.'"
In London on Sept. 19, President Yoon will attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey as the first event of his tour. "(President Yoon) will honor the memory of Queen Elizabeth II, who led the U.K. for the last seven decades, and deliver his deep condolences to the British people and royal family," Director Kim said.
"The U.K. sent the second-largest contingent of troops during the Korean War after the U.S., and around 4,000 British troops were either killed or wounded," the director added. "This country shares key values with Korea through today and is an ally that we closely cooperate with."
President Yoon will "naturally" hold talks with leaders of key liberal democracies attending the funeral to "pursue solidarity of the international community for freedom and peace," Director Kim said.
After visiting London, President Yoon will head to New York.
The director said the president will deliver a speech on the first day (Sept. 20) of high-level keynote speeches of the United Nations General Assembly, adding that bilateral talks with other participating leaders, a meeting with the U.N. secretary general and gathering of ethnic Korean residents in New York are in the works.
On President Yoon's first keynote speech to the U.N. General Assembly since taking office, the director said, "The theme of this General Assembly is to find transformative solutions to complicated challenges in the belief that the international community is at an unprecedented turning point, a 'watershed moment.'"
"In his speech, President Yoon is expected to present the Republic of Korea's role as a global leader who substantially contributes to resolving international issues and takes the initiative in building a global order based on universal values."
Excluding the queen's funeral and the assembly, other events during the president's tour of the three countries will focus on "economic diplomacy" to secure growth engines for Korea and promote international cooperation in cutting-edge industries.
On Canada, the last leg of the chief executive's trip, the director described the North American country as "the second-largest supplier of mineral resources, key producer of core minerals essential for secondary batteries and electric vehicles such as lithium, nickel and cobalt, and leader in AI," adding, "Korean corporations are pushing for large-scale investment in the Canadian battery sector."
"The visit to Canada will provide an opportunity to deepen bilateral cooperation in the digital sector and artificial intelligence, secure a stable and resilient supply chain for core minerals, and bolster economic security."