South Korean president skips in-person meeting with Pelosi, causing controversy

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SEOUL, South Korea – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrapped up her two-day visit to Seoul on Thursday, but her non-in-person meeting with the president has led to controversy among South Koreans.Pelosi is the first sitting speaker to visit South Korea since Dennis Hastert visited Seoul in 2002. She met her counterpart, Kim Jin-pyo, the speaker of the National Assembly, and agreed to support both governments’ efforts to achieve denuclearization and peace on the peninsula under strong deterrence against North Korea.However, public criticism has soared over South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol — who skipped an in-person meeting with Pelosi due to his being on his summer vacation in his nation’s capital, Seoul.Despite her official visit to Seoul, the South Korean presidential office gave several responses over the meeting with Pelosi.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., addresses the media after meeting with South Korean National Assembly speaker Kim Jin-pyo at the National Assembly on Aug. 4, 2022, in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Kim Min-Hee – Pool/Getty Images)
PELOSI DOESN’T MENTION TAIWAN IN SOUTH KOREA, AS CHINA LAUNCHES RETALIATORY MISSILE STRIKESInitially the president’s office told reporters that the meeting between Yoon and Pelosi was not arranged because of Yoon’s scheduled summer vacation. Then it suddenly said that it was coordinating with Pelosi’s office to arrange a meeting, but then reversed its announcement again, saying there was no coordination between the two offices.Although Yoon has been staying at his home in Seoul, his office finally confirmed on Thursday that the two would have a phone call and not a face-to-face meeting. The call between the two lasted 40 minutes.Earlier on the trip, she met with the leaders of Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan before she arrived in Seoul. She is also expected to have a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday.
South Korea’s new president, Yoon Suk-yeol, waves after the presidential inauguration outside the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, May 10, 2022.
(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)SOUTH KOREA CANCELS FLIGHTS TO TAIWAN AMID CHINESE LIVE-FIRE MILITARY DRILLSChoi Young-bum, the senior presidential secretary for public relations, said the decision not to have a meeting with Pelosi was made based on “the national interest.” However, the official refused to answer further questions from reporters on what “the national interest” referred to in this situation.Adding to the controversy was when Pelosi’s delegation arrived at Osan Air Base on Wednesday where a photo showed the absence of Seoul officials welcoming her and the delegation on-site.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., far right, talks with South Korean National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo, far left, during their meeting at the National Assembly on Aug. 4, 2022, in Seoul, South Korea.
(Kim Min-Hee – Pool/Getty Images)Choi said that Pelosi’s counterpart, the National Assembly speaker, was the one who should have been responsible for holding a welcoming ceremony. He also claimed that Pelosi’s office turned down a ceremony given her delegation’s late-night arrival on Wednesday.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPPelosi’s office has not yet made a statement over the controversies arising from the criticism aimed at the South Korean president by many in the public there. Mitch Shin is a Seoul-based reporter for Fox News Digital. He can be followed on Twitter @MitchShin5