South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol to meet King Charles in state visit

The president of South Korea will pay a state visit to the UK in November after accepting an invitation from King Charles III.

The King and Queen Camilla will host Yoon Suk-yeol and his wife Kim Keon Hee at Buckingham Palace.

It will be the second incoming state visit of the King’s reign, following South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa’s stay last year.

The King and Queen have just returned from a three-day state visit to France.

Mr Yoon, 62, visited the US in April when he sang a verse of Don McLean’s American Pie – one of his favourite songs – at a White House dinner at the request of President Joe Biden.

He received rapturous applause from the audience before the US president presented him with a guitar signed by McLean.

The trip also saw Mr Yoon secure a landmark deal with the US to counter the North Korean nuclear threat.

The details of his UK state visit have not been released, but the trip will most probably follow convention with a ceremonial welcome and carriage procession to Buckingham Palace, followed by a state banquet on the first evening.

Around 150 guests are usually invited to the formal affair in the ballroom. Before dinner is served, the King makes a speech and proposes a toast to the visiting head of state, who replies and in return proposes a toast to the monarch.

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The King and the South Korean president met previously at the reception for heads of state and official overseas guests at the palace on the eve of Elizabeth II’s funeral.

But Mr Yoon was criticised across the South Korean political spectrum for not visiting the late queen’s coffin lying in state – which he blamed on heavy traffic.

The King expressed his condolences to the people of South Korea following the Itaewon Halloween crowd crush in 2022, when more than 150 people were killed in Seoul’s party district.

As Prince of Wales, King Charles was a key guest at a state banquet hosted by the late queen for the then-South Korean leader Roh Moo-hyun in 2004.

The King also visited South Korea in November 1992 with his then-wife, Diana, Princess of Wales.

Foreign monarchs, presidents or prime ministers are invited to visit the UK by the King on the advice of the British government.

State visits are not just ceremonial affairs – they are also diplomatic tools governments use to further what they see as the British national interests.

Visitors to the UK normally meet with the British prime minister, government ministers and leaders of the main political parties.

They may attend another banquet hosted by the Lord Mayor and City of London Corporation, where they will meet leaders of commerce and industry.

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