(ATTN: ADDS ruling party lawmaker's remarks in last two paras)
By Lee Minji
SEOUL, Sept. 23 (Yonhap) -- Opposition leader Lee Jae-myung on Friday slammed President Yoon Suk-yeol's alleged use of foul language, saying it is a disgrace that made people deeply mortified and hurt their dignity.
Yoon was caught on video making a remark privately to aides in New York on Wednesday that appeared to include vulgar words. Though the recording was not clear, many thought Yoon was talking about U.S. Congress and U.S. President Joe Biden
But Yoon's office later rejected the claim, explaining he was referring to how he would be embarrassed if South Korea's opposition-controlled National Assembly rejected the US$100 million he pledged to contribute to the Global Fund.
Despite the explanation, criticism ran high over Yoon's apparent use of vulgar language.
"It's a disgrace for the people, who must have felt deeply mortified and had their dignity hurt," said Lee, chair of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), during the party's Supreme Council meeting. "I'm at a loss for words. What else can I say?"
DP floor leader Rep. Park Hong-keun accused Yoon's office of lying.
"What the presidential office offered 15 hours later was neither the truth nor a confessional apology but a false clarification," he said. "People online are mocking that they are considering the people as dogs and pigs, and testing their hearing."
Park also accused the presidential office of dragging in the opposition party for its own excuse.
"The thought of blaming 169 DP lawmakers for the diplomatic disaster is vulgar to the extent I cannot raise my face out of embarrassment."
The DP urged Yoon to issue an apology and replace all presidential aides relevant to the incident. It has also requested an emergency gathering of the parliamentary steering and foreign affairs committees.
The ruling People Power Party (PPP) warned the DP against slandering Yoon's diplomacy.
"The DP is putting everything into underrating President Yoon's overseas visit. Focusing the party's capacity on deprecating diplomatic activities is unprecedented in the history of political parties," said Rep. Sung Il-jong, the PPP's chief policymaker.
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