South Korean president's office denies US hot-mic insult


SEOUL (AFP): South Korea's president has denied insulting key security ally the United States, claiming to have been mistranslated, prompting further domestic incredulity on Friday (Sept 23).

Yoon Suk-yeol (pic) was overheard on a hot mic and seen on camera seemingly insulting US lawmakers shortly after briefly meeting with US President Joe Biden at the Global Fund in New York.

"How could Biden not lose damn face if these f---ers do not pass it in Congress?" he appeared to be saying about Biden's drive to increase the US contribution to Global Fund, which would require congressional approval.

The footage quickly went viral in South Korea, with a YouTube video racking up five million views in less than a day and the Korean expletive Yoon purportedly used trending on Twitter.

But president's office spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye said Yoon had "no reason to talk about the US or utter the word 'Biden'".

Speaking at a press briefing in New York on Thursday, Kim claimed that Yoon did not actually say "Biden" but a similar-sounding Korean word, and that he was referring to South Korean, not US, lawmakers.

One ruling-party parliamentarian suggested the television station that first reported the hot-mic comments should be prosecuted.

"MBC should gravely be held accountable for its report that has damaged the irreplaceable US-Korea alliance," wrote MP Yoon Sang-hyun on his Facebook account.

But online, many expressed doubt about the government's response.

"It is utterly shameful and embarrassing for our kids that our presidential office has come up with such an excuse," one commentator wrote on YouTube.

"I've listened to it 10 times now. It's 'Biden' for sure," another added.

The opposition said Yoon's official denial was akin to telling South Koreans they were "hearing impaired", Democratic Party MP Chun Jae-soo said in a radio interview on Friday.

The United States is South Korea's key security ally, with Washington stationing about 27,000 troops in the country to help counter nuclear-armed North Korea.

Yoon, a former prosecutor, is struggling with low domestic approval ratings, with the latest survey Friday after the hot-mic incident showing it stood at 28 per cent.

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

South Korea , hot mic , US , Biden , Yoon , deny

   

Next In Aseanplus News

Brunei to see active weather conditions due to typhoon Noru
Cambodia reclaims 258 looted antiquities from abroad in last five years, says official
United States captures ninth consecutive Presidents Cup; Team Internationals led by Korean golfers falter at last stage
Thai teen Atthaya, South-East Asia's rising golf star, edges Korean Kang for LPGA NW Arkansas trophy
Shafee rubbishes claims of special treatment for Najib
Blackpink members wear outfits from Indonesian designer in new music video
USA set basketball World Cup record with 145-69 thumping of South Korea
Graft keeps stranglehold on Indonesian judiciary
Oil prices fall for a second day on concerns for expected recession
Chiang Mai in shock after 750-year-old city wall crumbles in rainstorm

Others Also Read