South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol was captured on a hot mic reportedly disparaging American lawmakers.
Yoon was overheard calling members of US Congress "idiots" in a now-viral clip.
The remarks were made after Yoon met with US President Joe Biden in New York City.
South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol was captured on a hot mic reportedly disparaging American lawmakers as "idiots" shortly after he met with US President Joe Biden in New York.
"It would be so humiliating for Biden if these idiots don't pass it in Congress," Yoon was heard telling aides in a now-viral clip, according to a translation by The Washington Post.
Yoon and Biden met Wednesday at the Global Fund's Seventh Replenishment Conference in New York City.
The South Korean president's remark was apparently in reference to Biden pledging $6 billion in funding to the Global Fund, an international organization that aims to defeat HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria.
Video: Why South Korea's coronavirus curve looks so different from the U.S.
The $6 billion in funding from the US would need approval from Congress.
South Korea's presidential office on Thursday said that Yoon's comments were not directed at the United States, according to The Post.
The news outlet reported that Yoon's spokeswoman said Yoon was actually speaking about South Korea's parliament and that he did not mention Biden's name, but a similar-sounding Korean word.
Michigan GOP Rep. Peter Meijer quipped about Yoon's apparent insults in a tweet, saying, "hey, only we get to say that."
Yoon is a political novice, having never held elected office before. His approval rating has plummeted since his inauguration in May.
The South Korean leader faced criticism last month for not meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she visited his country. Yoon's office rejected the notion that he was deliberating snubbing the Speaker, and said he was on vacation.
That said, since entering office Yoon has moved to strengthen his country's alliance with the US — particularly when it comes to the issues like safeguarding global supply chains and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
As Biden visited South Korea in May, Yoon said, "Our two countries, in response to immediate global challenges, will pursue even closer coordination.
"The friendship and trust I have forged with President Biden today will pave the way for further reinforcing our bilateral partnership for a new era," he said. "Towards this goal, I hope our two countries will engage in frequent communication and close consultation with each other."
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