Lord Mayor hails historic and newer ties with Republic of Korea at Guildhall Banquet

The Lord Mayor of the City of London highlighted the strong partnership between the UK and the Republic of Korea at a banquet held at Guildhall in honour of President Yoon Suk Yeol and Mrs Kim Keon Hee.

Lord Mayor Professor Michael Mainelli reflected on the historic ties between the two countries as well looking forward to opportunities to boost collaboration, particularly across financial and professional services and digital sectors.  

Lord Mayor Professor Michael Mainelli said (please check against delivery): 

“This year, our two countries celebrate 140 years of diplomatic relations, and the 70 years since the Korean War Armistice. We are closer allies than ever before – as shown by the Downing Street Accord and this morning’s trade communique at Mansion House. Just twelve days into living there, and a trade deal worth £21billion is being signed in my own living room. 

“The Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang argues persuasively that Korea boldly set out on its own path to development, and you succeeded by being different.  

“Like a K-pop single, Korea is climbing up the charts. Seoul and Busan are at 11 and 33 in the Global Financial Centres Index, and at 19 and 28 in the Smart Centres Index. 

“Londoners that listen to K-pop and watch Korean films at the weekends, may spend their working weeks at one of the many Korean firms based in the UK. 

“From the established global giants to the smaller startups and tech companies choosing London – and indeed the wider UK – as their launchpad in Europe. 

 “Firms like Monnit Korea, Deeping Source and Nota AI, trialling their tech in the UK Testbed Initiative at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This goes to the heart of my vision for the City of London as Lord Mayor, Connect to Prosper: Celebrating the Knowledge Miles of the Square Mile, the World’s Coffee House. 

“London can play this role due to our strengths in science and technology which is another reason why the UK and the Republic of Korea are so well-aligned, with the Republic of Korea ranking second in the OECD for research and development intensity, and having one of the most digitally connected societies in the entire world. 

“This year, we held the first AI Safety Summit here in the UK and I am delighted that the second AI Safety summit will be held in the Republic of Korea – another example of both our nations leading the global agenda. 

“Mr President, we applaud the way you are making the Republic of Korea an ever more proactive player in world affairs, especially as we share so many values. 

“We can achieve so much together, as long as we continue to connect to prosper.”  


Notes to editors 

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk