By BERT HOOVER
South Korea President Yoon Suk-yeol was overheard insulting U.S. Congress Wednesday, calling them “idiots.” Yoon met U.S. President Joe Biden at the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment Conference in New York City.
During the conference, Biden promised that the United States would give $6 billion to the public health campaign, fighting diseases like AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis around the world. The funding needs congressional approval, Washington Post reported.
However, while leaving the event, Yoon told his aides that “It would be so humiliating for Biden if these idiots don’t pass it in Congress.” The statement was caught on the mic, and the video quickly escalated through South Korea.
South Korea President Representative Refused to Comment
Requests for comment were sent Thursday, but Yoon’s representative refused to respond. On the other hand, the National Security Council spokesperson stated on the same day that they “not comment on the hot mic comments.”
According to the statement, the U.S. relationship with South Korea is “strong and growing,” It also said that President Biden considers President Yoon as a “key ally”, and both leaders had a productive meeting at the United Nations General Assembly.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s Democratic Party leader, Park Hong-keun, was not happy at Yoon’s foul language, disgracing the U.S. Congress as “a major diplomatic mishap.”
A senior official in South Korea’s presidential office told reporters in New York that Yoon’s remarks were unofficial and could not be confirmed. According to the official, judging the administration’s diplomatic efforts solely on such private comments is unfair, as reported by The Strait Times.
What Caused Yoon Suk-yeol to Insult the U.S. Congress?
In a statement, the White House said that Biden and Yoon talked about working together to deal with the security threat North Korea poses as part of a “broad range of priority issues,” which also included global health, supply chain resilience, economic and energy security, critical technologies, and climate change.
The Inflation Reduction Act, which Biden signed last month and gives tax incentives of up to $7,500 for sales of electric vehicles made in North America, has been a source of pressure on Yoon’s home front.
South Korean companies like Kia and Hyundai, which do not have E.V. factories up and running in the U.S. yet, may lose out because of this, and it seems they are betrayed, according to Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, the South Korean opposition lawmakers mocked Yoon’s off-the-cuff comments and said they damaged the country’s image.
Yoon was also criticized when he shunned U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during her visit to South Korea. He said it was unnecessary to greet Pelosi personally and called her on the phone instead.
“President Yoon’s vacation schedule and Speaker Pelosi’s visit to the Republic of Korea overlapped, and we did not rearrange our schedule,” stated Yoon’s office.
Yoon is the only Asian leader who did not meet Pelosi during her Asia trip. She was the first sitting House Speaker to visit the country in around 20 years. The lawmakers claimed that he lost the opportunity to advocate for his nation’s interests concerning the legislation.
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Written By: Bert Hoover
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