Korean President Park Geun-hye and Queen Elizabeth II are seen riding in a royal coach on their way to Buckingham Palace, Tuesday (KST), during a welcome ceremony for Park's visit to the United Kingdom. / Yonhap
By Kim Tae-gyu
LONDON ― President Park Geun-hye met with Queen Elizabeth II, Tuesday, one of the longest-reigning U.K. monarchs.
Park arrived in London, Monday, after spending two days in Paris on her first European visit trip as head of state.
"It is meaningful because the U.K. offers a state visit to overseas leaders only twice a year … In addition, it marks only the second state visit by a Korean leader to the U.K. ever," a Cheong Wa Dae official said.
Former President Roh Moo-hyun paid a state visit to England in 2004.
After an official welcoming ceremony, she headed to Buckingham Palace to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the two nation's diplomatic relations.
She then talked with around 100 lawmakers before having a state dinner with Queen Elizabeth.
Park is poised to meet with her U.K. counterpart David Cameron today to talk about collaboration in the financial sector and the "creative economy" aimed at generating new growth engines based on convergence between different industries.
"The United Kingdom is a powerhouse in finance and the summit between Park and Cameron will help Korea to enhance its financial competitiveness," said a government official who asked not to be named.
"The U.K. is also a juggernaut in futuristic businesses involving both conventional and new sectors. In that sense, the country could provide a benchmark for Korea to learn something from."
England has fared relatively well compared to its neighbors during the economic downturn across Europe.
As a result, the country has been dubbed as a model for Korea to follow because the latter also suffered from slowing growth measured in terms of gross domestic product (GDP).
Once, it was one of the global leaders in the annual GDP growth at a rate higher than 5 percent but the figure dropped to 2 percent last year. In 2013, the figure is expected to reach 3 percent at best.