Fox News reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi followed up her controversial trip to Taiwan earlier this week with a stop in South Korea, marking the first time a sitting House speaker has traveled there in two decades.
However, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol seems to have been unimpressed: in an embarrassing snub, Yoon chose to remain on vacation rather than schedule an in-person meeting.
Meeting with Pelosi said to not be in South Korea’s “national interest”
According to Fox News, a series of conflicting explanations were given to explain why Yoon and Pelosi would not meet one another.
The president’s office initially explained that Yoon would not taking time out of his vacation but then said it was coordinating with Pelosi’s office to set up a meeting.
Yet that pronouncement was subsequently reversed, with South Korean officials insisting that no such coordination was taking place.
Choi Young-bum is a senior spokesperson for the president, and he was quoted by Fox News as telling reporters on Thursday that Yoon’s decision not to meet with Pelosi was rooted in “the national interest.”
The network noted that Choi offered no further explanation as to how a meeting with the American House speaker might negatively impact South Korea’s national interest.
In the end, Pelosi is said to have had a 40-minute telephone call with Yoon as well as met in person with her South Korean counterpart, National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo.
🇺🇸🇰🇷S.Korea Meeting between Speaker of the National Assembly and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives… “Efforts to support North Korea’s denuclearization”
National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo and US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed to support the efforts of the two pic.twitter.com/0oxg8BYnVZ
— worldnews24u (@worldnews24u) August 4, 2022
Yoon compared to former President Donald Trump
Elected earlier this year, Yoon is known as an ardent conservative and has been compared to former President Donald Trump for his outsider status and strident campaigning style.
CNBC reported that in March, Yoon pulled off a close victory in this year’s contentious election, ultimately winning by less than one percentage point.
Time magazine stated that Yoon ran on an anti-feminist campaign, alleging that young men are being demonized and pledging to abolish the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.