Hot Mic Catches How World Leaders Really Feel About Biden
A hot mic captured South Korea President Yoon Suk-yeol calling lawmakers “fuckers” during the United Nations General Assembly this week.
The incident occurred after Suk-yeol had been speaking with President Joe Biden, who had just pledged $6 billion to the Global Fund, during a photo-op on Wednesday.
Addressing his aides, the South Korean president could be heard saying, “How could Biden not lose damn face if these f***ers do not pass it in Congress?”
Though initial reports said that the comment was in reference to “Biden’s drive to increase US funding to the Global Fund, which would require congressional approval,” according to the South China Morning Post, Yoon Suk-yeol told Korean media that he was referencing lawmakers in his own country. Kim Eun-hye, senior presidential secretary for press affairs, asserted that Yoon made no mention of Biden and that the actual Korean word was “throw out.” Per Yonhap News Agency:
The actual word was the Korean word for “throw out” and Yoon was talking about how he would be embarrassed if the National Assembly, which is controlled by the main opposition Democratic Party, rejected the $100 million he pledged to contribute to the Global Fund over three years, she said.
“Yesterday, the Republic of Korea was reduced overnight to a country mocking an ally nation with which it has been together for nearly 70 years,” Kim told reporters in New York.
“We will always accept criticism of the president and state administration,” she continued, “but distorting the president’s diplomatic activities and driving a wedge between allies with lies is an act of self-injury to the national interest.”
Likewise, a senior presidential official said that it was highly unfortunate that conclusions were made about Yoon’s comments.
“I think it’s highly inappropriate to draw a link between private remarks and diplomatic accomplishments,” the official said.
“It’s quite regrettable that a diplomatic disaster is being talked about over something like that when he is doing everything to complete a demanding schedule in the national interest of the Republic of Korea.”
A spokesman for the National Security Counsel said in a statement Thursday it would “not comment on the hot mic comments.”
“Our relationship with the Republic of Korea is strong and growing,” the statement said. “President Biden counts President Yoon as a key ally. The two leaders had a good, productive meeting on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly yesterday.”
Likewise, the White House said that Yoon and Biden had productive conversations on the sidelines during the U.N. General Assembly.
“The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the U.S.-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 readout of the meeting.
“The Presidents also discussed our ongoing cooperation on a broad range of priority issues including supply chain resilience, critical technologies, economic and energy security, global health, and climate change,” the statement added.
According to the Korea Times, Yoon, who has described himself as a conservative, called upon countries to stand together to protect freedom during his address before the U.N. General Assembly.
“When freedom of any citizen or nation in the global community is in peril, it is the community of nations that must stand together in solidarity to defend that freedom,” he said.