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Presidential office not to seek legal action over Yoon's hot mic controversy

Politics 10:45 September 27, 2022

SEOUL, Sept. 27 (Yonhap) -- The presidential office has decided not to pursue legal action against what it says were inaccurate media reports about President Yoon Suk-yeol's remarks caught on a hot mic in New York last week, officials said Tuesday.

The office conducted an internal review of whether to sue those responsible for what Yoon claims were "reports different from the facts" and determined such action would be unnecessary, a senior presidential official told Yonhap News Agency.

"It would be better for the ruling party, rather than the presidential office, to more actively respond to the opposition's offensives," another official said.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol (C) talks with U.S. President Joe Biden (L) after attending the seventh replenishment conference of the Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in New York on Sept. 21, 2022. On the right is South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin. (Yonhap)

Yoon's remarks, which are difficult to discern due to background noise, were subtitled by South Korean broadcaster MBC to make it sound like the president was using vulgar language to refer to U.S. Congress and U.S. President Joe Biden.

Yoon's office later clarified that he had made no mention of either and that the president was expressing his concern that South Korea's National Assembly might reject his pledge to contribute US$100 million to the Global Fund.

In his first response to the controversy, Yoon told reporters on Monday that "damaging the alliance with reports different from the facts puts the people in great danger."

Deputy presidential spokesperson Lee Jae-myoung appeared on MBC radio Tuesday to further defend the president, saying the heart of the matter is not whether he used expletives but the fact that there was an attempt to insult an ally.

The presidential office still plans to go ahead with a determination of how the controversial remarks were mentioned at a leadership meeting of the main opposition Democratic Party before the press embargo on them was lifted.

hague@yna.co.kr
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