President Joe Biden’s mixed messaging on U.S. policy in the Pacific Theater prompted South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol to utter expletives after Biden’s speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.
During the speech, Biden spoke of how America’s reputation across the globe had significantly improved since he took office and that America is committed to supporting democratic nations in the South Pacific and its contribution to the U.N Global Fund would support South Korea.
Yoon seemed to question Biden’s claims and became frustrated when Biden qualified his comment regarding America contributing to the U.N. Global Fund by saying the move would require congressional approval.
Mindful that, against the wishes of Biden, two congressional teams went to Taiwan in recent months and that his comments regarding China and defending Taiwan have been walked back by White House officials twice in three months, Yoon appeared frustrated that Biden did not come to the U.N. with a concrete pledge in hand.
Fox News reports that a hot mic caught Yoon, who took office in May, venting to aides, saying:
“How could Biden not lose damn face if these f—ers do not pass it in Congress?”
Yoon’s comments raised concern in South Korea and throughout the Pacific, as many consider strong U.S.-Korean relations essential for the defense of democracies in the region.
Seeking to minimize the impact of their president’s diplomatic faux pas, according to Yonhap, a South Korean official, “He wasn’t speaking publicly on the stage but in passing, and although I don’t know who recorded it and how, I actually think it should be verified.”
The spokesperson added:
“I think it’s highly inappropriate to draw a link between private remarks and diplomatic accomplishments. It’s quite regrettable that a diplomatic disaster is being talked about over something like that when he is doing everything to complete a demanding schedule in the national interest of the Republic of Korea.”
The Fox News report added that U.S., South Korean, and Japanese military forces “cooperated last month in a trilateral missile defense exercise — the first formal cooperation of its kind since December 2017.”
Military officials noted the military exercise was scheduled to reassure allied nations of the trilateral commitment to mutual defense.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.