South Korean president overheard insulting U.S. Congress as ‘idiots’

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol was caught on a hot mic Wednesday insulting members of the US Congress as “idiots” in a potential embarrassment for President Biden if he doesn’t approve funding for global public health.

Yun recently met with Biden at the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment Conference in New York City. There, Biden pledged $6 billion from the United States for public health campaigns fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria worldwide. Funding would require congressional approval.

“It would be very humiliating for Biden if these idiots don’t pass in Congress,” Yoon was heard telling a group of aides as he left the event. Video of the exchange quickly went viral in South Korea, where Yoon took office in May.

Representatives for Yoon did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday. A spokesman for the National Security Adviser said in a statement Thursday that it “will not comment on Hot Mic comments.”

“Our relations with the Republic of Korea are strong and growing,” the statement said. “President Biden considers President Yoon a key ally. The two leaders had a good, productive meeting yesterday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.”

Park Hong-kyun, the leader of South Korea’s opposition Democratic Party, criticized Yun’s “vulgar language that tarnishes the US Congress” as “a major diplomatic disaster”. Agence France-Presse reported.

Both Yun and Biden were in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, where they held talks on the sidelines on Wednesday.

“The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the US-ROK alliance and ensuring close cooperation in countering the threat posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),” the White House said in a readout of their meeting. “The President discussed our ongoing collaboration on a wide range of priority issues, including supply chain resilience, critical technologies, financial and energy security, global health and climate change.”

Min Joo Kim contributed to this report.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol gave a halting answer when asked about gender issues by a Washington Post reporter on September 21. (Video: The Washington Post)

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