Stop political fights over Yoon’s trip

Home > Opinion > Editorials

print dictionary print

Stop political fights over Yoon’s trip

President Yoon Suk-yeol returned home Saturday after wrapping up his trip overseas. His speech at the United Nations emphasizing Korea’s responsibility as a key member of the international community carries significance as it made official the country’s role in global affairs. His 30-minute meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also deserves appreciation as it paved the way to restore relations.

Nevertheless, controversies over Yoon’s low-profile approach for a summit with Kishida, his last-minute cancellation of a plan to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II in London and his 48-second talk with U.S. President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly leave a bitter aftertaste. Yoon must carefully review what really went wrong in the lead-up to diplomatic fumbles on the international stage.

Another controversy over the indecent language the president allegedly used during a short conversation with Foreign Minister Park Jin after an event in New York is poised to escalate into a heated dispute between the People Power Party (PPP) and Democratic Party (DP) in the ongoing regular session of the National Assembly. Both sides are engaged in a sharp battle over who was the target for Yoon’s vulgar words and if Yoon really mentioned Biden.

After defining Yoon’s overseas trip as a failure, the DP demanded an apology from the president and called for a colossal reshuffle of his diplomatic staff. Some even threatened a legislative probe or the appointment of an independent counsel to look into the suspicions. DP Chairman Lee Jae-myung fueled the battle by criticizing Yoon on Facebook. In reaction, the PPP attacks Lee for the slurs he used at his elder sister-in-law over a family issue. Both parties are headed to a frontal clash after the PPP counterattacked the DP for trying to repeat its fearmongering over mad cow disease during the Lee Myung-bak administration.

Even if the target of Yoon’s expletive is the DP, political circles must stop the controversy from evolving into an all-out war. Even the White House said it doesn’t care, as the Korea-U.S. relations are strong and Biden regards Yoon as a close ally.

The country has to deal with urgent issues, such as U.S. discrimination on Korean electric vehicles after the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and a currency swap deal with the U.S. Domestically, the government and lawmakers must find ways to alleviate the suffering of the people from high prices and interest rates, not to mention enacting a law punishing the act of stalking.

The controversy spread after DP lawmakers and progressive media outlets maliciously raised questions without finding facts. If left unattended, the controversy can lead to a confirmation bias among the public. The presidential office’s belated response to deepening suspicions also makes us wonder if internal communication really works in the office.
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)