South Korea’s president’s criticism of U.S. lawmakers has gone viral on social media – after a red-hot microphone caught him with a dirty word.
Yoon appeared to make the remarks after a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden at the Global Fund conference in New York on Wednesday.
On Thursday, South Korean TV broadcaster MBC posted a video on its official YouTube channel in which Yoon can be seen walking on stage after speaking to Biden, before turning to his aide and speaking.
“Biden will be embarrassed if those bastards in the National Assembly disapprove [bill],” then he seemed to say.
The Global Fund, an international group trying to fight HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in developing countries, appeared to be referring to Biden’s pledge of $6 billion in donations, which would require congressional approval.
The YouTube clip, which has not yet been deleted, has been viewed more than 4 million times since it was uploaded and has attracted tens of thousands of comments.
Many social media users started mocking Yoon, and his profanity became a trending search term on the South Korean online portal Naver.
It was just the latest in a string of diplomatic blunders that critics say is that Yin arrived in New York this week for the United Nations General Assembly after attending Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in London.
While in London, Yoon’s opponents accused him of being disrespectful because he missed seeing the Queen’s coffin lying in the state – which he blamed on heavy traffic.
He came under fire last month for failing to meet U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she visited South Korea as part of a tour of Asia.
In the wake of his latest foreign policy gaffe, Yin’s team has gone on the defensive.
A spokesman for the South Korean presidential official said in a background briefing with reporters that the remarks were “private comments” and that “it is inappropriate to link private comments with diplomatic outcomes.”
The official also said it was “regrettable” for Yin to be criticized for “a difficult schedule for the national interest.”
Back in Seoul, South Korean Prime Minister Han Deok-soo addressed the issue at a meeting of the National Assembly on Thursday, saying it was “not clear” what Yoon was actually saying.
“I don’t think I can draw a definitive conclusion here about the circumstances of what he said…but no one seems to have heard the content clearly,” Han said.
His remarks were not ignored by members of the opposition Liberal Party, who commented on the issue in the National Assembly on Thursday.
“Under the government of Yoon Se-yeol, diplomatic disasters continue to occur due to the president’s repeated diplomatic incompetence,” they said.