South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol heard insults from US Congress as ‘idiots’

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol was caught on a hot microphone on Wednesday while insulting members of Congress as “idiots” who could pose a potential embarrassment to President Biden if they did not approve funding for global public health.

Yoon had just met Biden at the Global Fund’s seventh replenishment conference in New York City. There, Biden had pledged $6 billion from the United States for the public health campaign, which fights AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria worldwide. The funding would require congressional approval.

“It would be so humiliating for Biden if these idiots don’t make it into Congress,” Yoon was heard to tell a group of aides as they left the event. Video of the exchange quickly went viral in South Korea, where Yoon took office in May.

Yoon representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday. A spokesman for the National Security Counsel said in a statement Thursday that it “would not comment on the hot microphone comments”.

“Our relationship with the Republic of Korea is strong and growing,” the statement said. “President Biden considers President Yoon an important ally. The two leaders had a good, productive meeting yesterday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.”

Park Hong-keun, the leader of the opposition Democratic Party in South Korea, criticized Yoon’s “dirty language that tarnished the US Congress” as “a major diplomatic accident,” Agence France-Presse reported.

Yoon and Biden were both in New York for the UN General Assembly, meeting on the sidelines on Wednesday.

“The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the US-ROK alliance and ensure close cooperation to address the threat posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),” the White House said in a reading of their meeting. . “The presidents also discussed our ongoing collaboration on a wide range of priority issues, including supply chain resilience, critical technologies, economic and energy security, global health and climate change.”

Min Joo Kim contributed to this report.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol gave a hesitant answer on September 21 when a Washington Post reporter asked him about gender issues. (Video: The Washington Post)

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