In comments made after visiting US President Joe Biden last week in New York, South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol has denied disparaging the US Congress.
He was overheard on a hot mic and recorded on tape apparently referring to US politicians as “idiots” or something far harsher.
In South Korea, the video spread like wildfire.
However, according to his spokesman, he “had no cause to talk about the US or pronounce the term “Biden”.”
According to reports, the comment was made during a discussion regarding Mr. Biden’s push to get legislative approval for raising the US contribution to the Worldwide Fund, a global endeavor.
If they [expletive] do not pass it in Congress, how could Biden not lose face, Mr. Yoon reportedly said to his advisers.
Kim Eun-hye, a spokesperson for the president, stated that Mr. Yoon was referring to the South Korean parliament rather than the US Congress when he mentioned “Biden” in New York on Thursday.
Many did not believe the government’s explanation, which one opposition MP compared to telling Koreans they were “hearing challenged.”
Former prosecutor Mr. Yoon merely entered politics last year and won the presidential election earlier this year by less than 1%.
Correspondents claim that he has struggled with poor popularity ratings since being elected and is notorious for making mistakes.
On his first day in London, he also received criticism for skipping the Queen’s lying-in-state, which his staff attributed to traffic.
He was forced to retract his statement from last year that the authoritarian ruler Chun Doo-hwan, who was in charge of killing demonstrators in 1980, was “excellent at politics.”