President Yoon directs ‘foul language’ to Biden

On Sept. 22, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol courted another controversy against President Biden in a now-viral, hot mic moment. 

 The pair met at the Global Fund conference—a discussion amongst global leaders finding ways to strengthen health systems in more than 100 countries—in New York, where Biden made a $6 billion pledge to Global Fund replenishment. President Yoon was caught telling his aides, “it would be embarrassing for President Joe Biden if the National Assembly did not approve Biden’s funds for the Global Fund.” 

“Saying that President Yoon has had a rough few months in office would be an understatement,” Taejoo Lee (12), active Korean politics follower, said. “From the infamous decision to skip the meeting with Nancy Pelosi to his mishandling of the deadly floods in August, the press has had so many opportunities to shape Yoon as a bad, irresponsible president.” 

Yoon has been battling low ratings amid a slew of controversies in recent months, and his hot mic remark only seems to be negatively impacting his approval rates even further. With some calling Yoon’s “foul language a major diplomatic mishap,” experts say this scandal may also taint the long-standing, cordial relationship between Korea and the US. 

“This scandal definitely makes it difficult for the Yoon administration to implement new policies,” Yoonseo Kim (12), MUN member, said. “The opposition Democratic party will continue to target these scandals for political gain while remaining in control of parliament. I am sure it is another smart tactic they will use to divert time and energy away from cross-party dialogue.” 

With South Korea on a crossroad of economic uncertainty following its declining exports, soaring exchange rates, burgeoning debt, as well as an aging population, the focus on this controversy is not helpful.