Seoul: Two European leaders met South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol for a summit in Seoul Monday where they discussed trade agreements, Ukraine, and North Korea's banned weapons programmes.

European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are on their first visit to the East Asian country as South Korea and Europe mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

"South Korea and the European Union are important cooperative partners that share the universal values of freedom, human rights, and the rule of law, and over the past 60 years, cooperation has developed in all areas, including politics, economy, and the global agenda," Yoon told a joint news conference after the talks.

The leaders agreed to increase cooperation in the face of global threats that include the war in Ukraine and North Korea's banned weapons programmes, according to a joint statement.

They condemned North Korea's "repeated illegal ballistic missile launches as well as its ongoing nuclear development and references to the possible use of nuclear weapons" and expressed support for Seoul's efforts to persuade Pyongyang to give up such weapons.

"We shared the understanding that North Korea's nuclear and missile development poses a serious threat to global security beyond the Korean Peninsula, and agreed to closely cooperate for the international community's united response to North Korea's provocations," Yoon said.

The trio of leaders also agreed to boost trade ties with more talks on issues "including supply chain resilience and... export controls and economic coercion".

South Korea is one of the world's largest producers of crucial computer chips, securing supplies of which has become a key issue internationally, with the United States and China locked in a fierce battle for control of the chips market.

Ramon Pacheco Pardo, a professor of international relations at King's College London, said economic security was a key discussion, with "supply chain resilience" a priority for both Europe and South Korea.

"The EU would like to ensure greater investment, joint research and greater cooperation in sectors such as semiconductors, electric batteries or AI, where South Korean and other international firms are seen to be ahead of Europe," Pardo told AFP.

"Also, both sides remain committed to the (World Trade Organization) in a way that China and the US are not, and they will want to discuss how to reinforce trade multilateralism."

- Ukraine agenda -

The leaders also "discussed support for Ukraine to meet financial, material, security and humanitarian needs", the statement said.

South Korea, the world's ninth-largest arms exporter, has sent humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and sold tanks and howitzers to Poland -- a key ally for Kyiv as it battles Russia's invasion.

Seoul has a long-standing policy of not providing weapons to active conflict zones, although Yoon has hinted that this could change.

The president's office warned last month that Seoul's decision on whether to send military aid to Kyiv depended on Russia's actions.

A large attack against civilians could tip the balance, it said.

The leaders called for increased collective pressure on Russia and reaffirmed their commitment to stand by Ukraine.

Yoon held talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the sidelines of the G7 in Japan on Sunday, following a meeting with Zelensky's wife, Olena Zelenska, in Seoul last week.

During his meeting with Zelensky in Hiroshima, Yoon promised additional non-lethal aid to Ukraine, including demining equipment and ambulances, at the request of the Ukrainian president, according to South Korea's presidential office.