South Korea’s president Yoon Suk-yeol denies insulting US top security ally

South Korea's president Yoon Suk-yeol rejected the insult to the United States' top security ally and says it was mistranslated, sparking further national disbelief on Friday.

SEOUL — South Korea’s president Yoon Suk-yeol rejected the insult to the United States’ top security ally and says it was mistranslated, sparking further national disbelief on Friday.

Yoon Suk-yeol was heard on a hot mic and seen on camera seemingly insulting US lawmakers after briefly meeting US President Joe Biden at the Global Fund in New York.

“How could Biden not lose his fucking face when these motherfuckers don’t make it to Congress?” He appeared to be talking about Biden’s attempt to increase the US contribution to the Global Fund, which would require congressional approval.

The footage quickly went viral in South Korea, with a YouTube video racking up five million views in less than a day and Korean expletive Yoon reportedly trending on Twitter.

But the president’s office spokeswoman, Kim Eun-hye, said Yoon had “no reason to talk about the United States or say the word ‘Biden’.”

At a press conference in New York on Thursday, Kim claimed Yoon Suk-yeol didn’t actually say “Biden,” but a similar-sounding Korean word, and that he was referring to South Korean lawmakers, not American legislators.

A ruling party lawmaker has suggested suing the TV station that first covered the hot comments from the microphone.

“MBC should be held seriously responsible for its report that has harmed the irreplaceable US-Korea alliance,” Congressman Yoon Sang-hyun wrote on his Facebook account.

But online, many expressed doubts about the government’s response.

“It is absolutely shameful and embarrassing to our children that our presidency would come up with such an excuse,” one YouTube commenter wrote.

“I’ve listened to it ten times now. It’s ‘Biden’ of course,” added another.

The opposition said Yoon’s official denial amounts to telling South Koreans they are “deaf,” Democratic Party MP Chun Jae-soo said in a radio interview on Friday.

The United States is South Korea’s main security ally, with Washington stationing about 27,000 troops in the country to counter nuclear-armed North Korea.

Yoon, a former prosecutor, is struggling with low approval ratings nationally, with Friday’s latest poll after the hot mic incident showing him at 28%.

  • AFP
RosGwen24 News
RosGwen24 News
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