LONDON (AP) — South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol was greeted by Britain’s and a military honor guard on Tuesday at the start of a state visit aimed at strengthening trade and defense ties between the two countries.

The U.K. government hopes the Korean leader’s formal three-day visit will help cement an “ ” in its foreign and trade policy.

The king and Queen Camilla greeted Yoon and first lady Kim Keon Hee at Horse Guards Parade, a military parade ground in central London. Heir to the throne Prince William and government ministers also attended the welcome ceremony, where the king and president inspected rows of soldiers from the Scots Guards in grey tunics and bearskin hats.

The visiting couple traveled by horse-drawn coach down an avenue lined with British and Korean flags to Buckingham Palace. The king is due to host a state banquet for the guests at the palace on Tuesday evening.

Yoon also is scheduled to address Parliament and to hold talks Wednesday with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak focused on trade, technology and defense. A defense agreement will see the two countries’ navies work together to curb smuggling and to enforce U.N. sanctions imposed on to curb its nuclear weapons ambitions.

U.K. and Korean officials also will officially launch talks on an “upgraded” free trade agreement to replace their current deal, which largely replicates the arrangements the U.K. had before it .

Britain has launched trade talks with several countries since leaving the EU in 2020, though it has finalized deals only with Australia and New Zealand. The U.K. also has joined , or CPTPP, an Asia-Pacific trade bloc that includes Japan and 10 other nations.

Sunak and Yoon are expected to sign an agreement covering cooperation in defense and technology, including artificial intelligence. Britain hosted the first international this month, and South Korea intends to hold a follow-up event next year.

Britain also plans to invest in South Korean as part of international efforts to diversify the supply of the key computer components. Many of the advanced chips are produced , and the coronavirus pandemic and an increasingly assertive China have heightened concerns about future supply.

Sunak said agreements made during Yoon’s visit would “drive investment, boost trade and build a friendship that not only supports global stability, but protects our interests and lasts the test of time.”

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