South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol overheard insulting US Congress as ‘idiots’

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South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol was caught on a hot microphone Wednesday insulting US congressmen as “idiots” who could be a potential embarrassment to President Biden if they don’t approve funding for global public health.

Yoon had just met with Biden at the Global Fund’s seventh replenishment conference in New York City. There, Biden had pledged $6 billion from the United States for the public health campaign, which fights AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria worldwide. The funding would require congressional approval.

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

Representatives for Yoon and for the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday. Park Hong-keun, the head of the opposition Democratic Party of South Korea, criticized Yoon’s “foul language that tarnished the US Congress” as “a major diplomatic mishap.” It is written by Agence France-Presse.

Yoon and Biden were both in New York for the UN General Assembly, where they held discussions on the sidelines on Wednesday.

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

Min Joo Kim contributed to this report.

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