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(LEAD) Yoon to visit Britain, U.S., Canada next week

Politics 16:39 September 12, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details throughout; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, Sept. 12 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol will depart for Britain next week to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on a trip that will also take him to New York for the U.N. General Assembly and Canada for a bilateral visit, his office said Monday.

Yoon will attend the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 19 at Westminster Abbey in London (local time), the office said. Earlier, Yoon expressed his condolences over the passing of the queen, who died last Thursday at the age of 96 after reigning for 70 years.

His attendance will mark the first time that a sitting South Korean president will attend the funeral of the leader of another country since 2015.

During a press briefing, National Security Adviser Kim Sung-han stressed that the purpose of Yoon's trip is to strengthen solidarity with partner countries that share the same core values and to expand the "foundations of economic diplomacy."

President Yoon Suk-yeol holds a news conference at the presidential office in Seoul on Aug. 17, 2022, on the occasion of his 100th day in office. (Yonhap)

Yoon will then travel to New York for the U.N. General Assembly and deliver a keynote speech on Sept. 20 in which he is expected to reiterate his call for the denuclearization of North Korea, according to his office.

Eyes are on whether Yoon will unveil more details to his "audacious" initiative to offer Pyongyang economic aid in exchange for denuclearization steps.

Officials said they were in talks with U.S. and Japanese officials to set up one-on-one summits with U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

If the summit meeting with Biden is held, Yoon is likely to discuss the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that excludes electric vehicles assembled outside North America from tax credits.

"We do not know yet whether (the Japanese summit meeting) will be in the form of a bilateral summit or a pull-aside meeting but we are pushing for the meeting," Kim told reporters at the briefing.

In Canada, he will meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss ways to boost cooperation in economic security.

Canada is a key global producer of resources such as lithium, nickel, and cobalt required in manufacturing secondary batteries and electric vehicles, according to the presidential office.
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