A critique used by US lawmakers by the president of South Korea went viral on social media after a hot microphone caught him using a curse.
Yoon Suk Yeol appears to have made the remark after meeting with US President Joe Biden at a conference for the Global Fund in New York on Wednesday.
In a video posted Thursday by South Korean broadcaster MBC on its official YouTube channel, Yoon can be seen walking down the stage after chatting with Biden before addressing his aides and speaking.
“It would be so embarrassing for Biden if those assholes in the National Assembly didn’t approve it [bill]”, He then seems to say.
The Global Fund is an international organization that seeks to defeat HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in developing countries and Yoon’s observation appears to be a reference to Biden’s commitment to contribute $ 6 billion. which would require congressional approval.
The YouTube clip, which has not yet been removed, has been viewed more than four million times since it was uploaded and attracted tens of thousands of comments.
Many social media users made fun of Yoon, while the curse he used became a popular search term on South Korean online portal Naver.
This is just the latest of what critics say is a series of diplomatic missteps by Yoon, who arrived in New York this week for the UN General Assembly after attending Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in London.
While in London, Yoon’s opponents accused him of disrespect because he missed the chance to see the queen’s coffin lying in the state, which he blamed for the heavy traffic.
Last month, he was targeted for failing to meet US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she visited South Korea as part of an Asia tour.
Following what appears to be his latest foreign policy gaffe, Yoon’s team went on the defensive.
In a briefing with reporters, a senior South Korean Presidential Bureau official said the remark was “a private comment” and it was “inappropriate to link a private comment to a diplomatic result.”
The official also said that “it was regrettable” Yoon was criticized while keeping pace with “a difficult program for the benefit of the national interest”.
“There is no reason for him to talk about the United States here,” said Kim Eun-hye, Yoon’s senior press officer, in a separate briefing, reiterating that many people seemed to have “overheard” his words.
Back in Seoul, South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo addressed the issue in a session of the National Assembly on Thursday, saying it was not clear what Yoon actually said.
“I don’t think I can draw a clear conclusion here about the circumstances under which he said those words … but it seems that no one has clearly heard the content,” Han said.
His remarks were not lost on members of the opposition liberal party who commented on the issue at the National Assembly on Thursday.
“Diplomatic disasters are repeating themselves under the Yoon Suk Yeol administration and this is due to the president’s repeated diplomatic incompetence,” they said.