While in New York for the UN General Assembly, South Korea’sPresident Yoon Suk-yeol was caught on a hot mic insulting President Joe Biden on Wednesday. Yoon referred to members of Congress as “f**kers.” The statement comes after the US pledged $6 billion in humanitarian aid and deployed an American aircraft carrier to South Korea.
Yoon’s hot mic remarks were caught at the Global Fund. “How could Biden not lose damn face if these f**kers do not pass it in Congress?” he said. Prior to his insulting remarks, Biden pledged $6 billion to fight HIV and tuberculosis. The aid would need the approval of Congress. “F**kers,” was the top trending topic on South Korean Twitter this Thursday.
Yoon’s viral gaffe comes as Washington and Seoul have increased military ties over the past several months. Yoon, who took office in May, as well as Biden have broken with their predecessors who sought diplomacy with North Korea.
In the latest exhibition of the growing military ties, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan visited South Korea. The port call is the first for an American aircraft carrier in South Korea since 2018. The visit is meant as a show of force to Pyongyang and is exemplary of the Biden administration’s strategy to deploy more nuclear-capable assets to Seoul.
The US and South Korea recently conducted their first live-fire war games in over five years. At a NATO summit in May, Washington, Tokyo and Seoul signed a trilateral agreement to increase military drills.
North Korea views the increased military ties between the US and South Korea as a growing threat. Pyongyang has carried out a record number of missile tests this year, including the first intercontinental ballistic missile test in several years.
The heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula come after a period of warming relations. American President Donald Trump, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un held several summits and drastically cut back on militarism.
During this period, North and South Korea destroyed border posts along the demilitarized zone (DMZ), Washington ended live-fire military drills in the region, and Pyongyang froze its missile program for several years.
However, the new approach, shared by both Biden and Yoon, has made confrontation more likely and diplomacy nearly impossible. Kim recently announced a new North Korean nuclear policy that says it cannot give up its nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, Washington maintains Pyongyang’s denuclearization is a precondition to any agreement.