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Presidential office defends Yoon over apparent use of foul language

15:11 September 22, 2022

By Lee Haye-ah

NEW YORK, Sept. 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's presidential office defended President Yoon Suk-yeol on Thursday after he was caught on video using foul language to apparently refer to U.S. lawmakers.

In the video, Yoon is seen talking with U.S. President Joe Biden at a fundraiser for fighting infectious diseases in New York on Wednesday. As he turns away to leave, he appears to tell his aides with vulgar language that it would be embarrassing for Biden if the National Assembly did not approve of something unspecified.

The clip led to speculation and criticism that Yoon was referring to Biden's pledge to contribute another US$6 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. His mention of the National Assembly was interpreted as a reference to U.S. Congress.

A senior presidential official said he did not pay attention to the remarks and did not remember them as he was following the president from behind.

"He wasn't speaking publicly on the stage but in passing, and although I don't know who recorded it and how, I actually think it should be verified," the official told reporters in New York.

"I think it's highly inappropriate to draw a link between private remarks and diplomatic accomplishments," the official added, referring to criticism that Yoon had created a diplomatic disaster. "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."

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol (R) talks with U.S. President Joe Biden after attending the seventh replenishment conference of the Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in New York on Sept. 21, 2022. (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
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