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471 An Official Trip Abroad 3

The British royal family was greeted with a weighty atmosphere, not a free-spirited one like Denmark. The Foreign Secretary was there, breaking Youngho's expectation that he was going to be greeted by the royal family only since he was only visiting with the British royal family. It was a great welcome and proof that the British royal family's prestige was still great.
Youngho chose to visit the British royal family as his first destination after visiting the Danish royal family which was his family-in-laws because the British royal family was the most influential of the existing European royal families. He could have visited neighboring countries of Denmark such as Venice, Sweden, and Norway first, but he came to England directly in order to win the favor of the commonwealth countries by honoring the British royal family.
Though not like in the past, Britain still enjoyed the status of great power. Although it was not comparable to the U.S. or China in terms of military power or economic power, Britain's power was not all that was visible. There were as many as 53 commonwealth countries in the world. In particular, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, which adopted a constitutional monarchy as their home countries, served the British monarch with utmost sincerity, even though they were independent countries. For the sake of amicable relations with the commonwealth countries, the British royal family should be treated more honorably than other royal families of Europe.

The ceremonial event at the Royal Palace in England ended simply because of the Queen's old age.
Youngho thought that was enough since his visit was enough to respect the authority of the British royal family, and that was his purpose. All that remained was to be spotlighted by the media and let the whole world learn about Kazakhstan's existence.
It was up to Fatima and Zeynep, and Youngho had to work on a hectic schedule for other things. Although he was on a royal tour of Europe to show that Kazakhstan was not a subordinate state to Russia, the British government wanted to discuss various issues with Youngho. It was because Britain had enough oil and gas due to the North Sea oil fields, but it had no other resources to spare, so Kazakhstan's resources were quite attractive to Britain.
Youngho also planned to actively take advantage of this golden opportunity to receive advanced technology. What was needed immediately was the introduction of high-tech weapons and their technical partnership.

Britain's military power was now weakened by a sharp cut in its defense budget due to economic difficulties, but it still had nuclear weapons and aircraft carriers. There were only a few known British weapons in the world, but from Kazakhstan's point of view, any old weapon from Britain was equivalent to high-tech weapons.
He had already exchanged information with the British Secret Intelligence Service since the Arirang Autonomous State, the technology partnership in the defense industry was agreed upon in a flurry, apparently due to the recognition that he was an ally.

The defense industry of Britain was in a state of lockdown due to reduced defense spending. Some of them were on the verge of downsizing or shutting down their factories, so the companies were glad to hear Youngho's proposal for a local assembly plant. All of them agreed to build factories in Kazakhstan. Some of their affiliates had auto companies and steel companies, so Kazakhstan would be able to get a technical partnership with those companies as well.

***

"Thank you so much for all your help this time, minister."

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"We're more than happy to keep our defense companies afloat thanks to you. To be honest, it's not much technology, but it's an indispensable basic weapon in modern warfare. If you invest a little more money in R&D, you'll have a tremendous amount of firepower."

"If we want to break away from the Russian weapons system, we need to prepare from the ground up. Could you please pay attention to security? The world will find out someday, but for now, we need to keep this quiet from the outside."

"Don't worry. British companies are very heavy-mouthed."

This time, it was the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that gave a lot of help to the arms acquisition and technology partnership.

"Your Highness, what is your relationship with Central Asian countries?"

"Not particularly good or bad. We're neighbors that share a lot of common factors. These days, they seem like they're nervous about the change in Kazakhstan."

"If there is a democratic movement in the southern Central Asian country, do you intend to support it?"

"I can't force another country to change like Kazakhstan. Everyone has a situation in their own way."

Having had the revolution completed and a new government in place just recently, Youngho did not want to get involved in other countries' affairs. He was afraid that the secretary would ask for Kazakhstan's involvement. Moreover, it could provoke China and Russia.

"What would you do if Central Asian countries would come into Kazakhstan on their own?"

"You know how dangerous it is to expand territory without any preparation. I don't want to think about it at this point."

"I'm only asking because South Central Asian countries may return to socialist countries to maintain dictatorship."

"As far as our intelligence department knows, there's no sign of that at all. Did you catch anything unusual?"

"There is room for Russia and China to encourage it. After World War II, that's how all East Europe became communized."

"It was possible then because the Soviet army was stationed in East Europe, but is that really possible in modern times?"

"Anything is possible with a big ambition. Your former president may have dreamed of socialism in order to take power for generations to come. The reason he sought asylum in Russia must have been because he wanted to be supported."

It was nonsense to imagine, but the former president would not hesitate to do such a thing to maintain the administration. If Kazakhstan became a socialist country, the Arirang Autonomous State would disappear naturally. It was not acceptable.
Britain was judging that the rest of Central Asian countries, except Kazakhstan, could be absorbed into the socialist countries at any time.

"But you know it well that the democracy movement did not happen because of the fear of returning to socialism, don't you?"

"It's a guess, but there's a good reason. This is because the pro-democracy movement has intensified since Kazakhstan changed its constitution to a constitutional monarchy. Isn't that because there are some signs?"

"If that's true, that means there could be a civil war."

"If the governments of Central Asia take a hard line, the democratic forces will arm themselves."

"In Central Asia, if civilians get armed, it will be a disaster. They're already hot-blooded and courageous. They can be used by those in power."

"What do you mean?"

"You know that Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are at odds over the border?"

"I know they sometimes have a bloody affair."

"If the dictators incite national sentiment to weaken the power of the democratic forces, then things might go out of hand. It's the only place in the world where multi-ethnic people live together, and I'm afraid there will be ethnic cleansing like the Balkans. Let's wait and see."

"Just be aware of the fact that we might be losing a great chance here."

"Handling Kazakhstan itself is overwhelming for me now. I don't want to get involved in other countries' affairs as much as possible."

Youngho avoided an immediate answer since he did not have to get nervous about something that would not happen yet. The South Central Asian countries were living as they used to, and he did not want to step in and intervene. At this point, it was unclear whether or not pro-democracy forces had pure intentions, and Kazakhstan's intervention could foster a civil war in those countries.

"Duke, do you think China or Russia will not intervene?"

"Well, it's a matter of time. If they stepped in, that will be the time to think about it."

"I'd like to tell you that you have to step in actively to stop China and Russia from socializing Central Asian countries. They won't be able to move recklessly when you show your stern stance and will as a leading country of Central Asia."

"I don't really want to run the whole of Central Asia, but I can't tolerate it being communized."

"The UK will actively support you if you get involved. The two divisions of the British Army in Germany are about to leave for England. We're looking for ways to use the elite forces that are pulling out."

Youngho also knew that there was a British unit stationed in Germany to block Russia's westward policy.

"Why are you moving out of Germany when there's still a threat?"

"We have no choice but to withdraw due to cuts in defense costs. The intelligence service and the military are concerned that all the troops that are being withdrawn will be reduced."

"Are you going to leave some of them there?"

"We plan to keep at least a brigade there, but we have no excuse to persuade the Congress. The more our companies get to enter Kazakhstan, the more likely our troops will still be there."

"So, you'll have an excuse to protect British companies from China and Russia if British factories are built in Kazakhstan."

"If Kazakhstan and Britain formed a military alliance, there is a better chance that the troops will survive. It will survive in the form of a contingent for allies."

"I see, you mean like military swapping."

"Yes, Britain will benefit because we will be keeping our military forces, and Kazakhstan is going to get an ally. If it's an alliance with Britain, Russia and China won't mind much either."

He meant that China or Russia looked down on the British military. It was surprising that the British Foreign Secretary was saying it.

"It's a tempting suggestion. May I ask why you're suggesting this?"

"It's because we don't want to miss the huge market of Central Asia. The UK is in a very difficult economic situation. If we don't find a new market, we will not be able to recover from this situation."

Although Youngho could not form or break off a military alliance with his position as the prince consort of the Kazakh royal family, he did not want to miss this opportunity to form a military alliance with a country like Britain. So, he gave the secretary a verbal promise.
He was confident that he could convince the National Assembly since there was no reason to oppose the military alliance with Britain for Kazakhstan. The more alliances, the more free Kazakhstan from the threat of Russia or China.
The British government also believed that an alliance with Kazakhstan, a resource-rich country, would serve as an opportunity to take a leap forward politically and economically.
The British government aimed to gain a say in Central Asian markets as well as getting economic benefits from them at this opportunity.