|Yoon Suk-yeol, the People’s Power Party’s leading opposition presidential candidate, speaks at an event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea at the Conrad Hotel in Yeouido, Seoul on Tuesday . Joint press corps|
By Nam Hyun-woo
Yoon Suk-yeol, the main opposition presidential candidate of the People’s Power Party (PPP), is again at the center of controversy over his words that “most Koreans hate China.”Yoon added that this hatred is the result of the Moon Jae-in government’s pro-China policy. Concern grows over the PPP candidate’s rhetoric, in which he makes controversial comments to which he must then add follow-up explanations. Critics say this type of rhetoric can be a problem, especially in diplomacy, if elected president.
At an event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea on Tuesday, Yoon said, “Most Koreans, especially young people, hate China, and most young Chinese hate Korea.
He continued, “This was not the case in the past. Koreans and Chinese had friendly feelings when Seoul engaged Beijing in a strong trilateral cooperation between Korea, the United States and Japan. But the Moon Jae-in’s current administration has resorted to Chinese-driven policies, pretending to be a middleman, and the outcome has not been good. ”
After the event, he said, questioned by journalists, that despite such a bias towards China, the peoples of the two countries have developed a reciprocal animosity towards each other.
Yoon’s comprehensive remarks are interpreted as an attempt by the candidate to criticize the efforts of the Moon administration to seek a balance between the current power struggle between the United States and China, which he sees as much more geared towards China. Yet criticism has now been leveled that he made hasty generalizations even though he spoke of extremely sensitive diplomatic issues that require delicacy.
The ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) immediately castigated Yoon’s comments, calling them “ridiculous.”
“In the wake of escalating US-China rivalry, Korean leader should strengthen Korea-US alliance and maintain partnership with China through sophisticated and precise remarks,” the door said. -speak of the DPK, Kang Seon-ah.
|Yoon Suk-yeol, the People’s Power Party’s leading opposition presidential candidate, speaks at an interregional balanced development forum in Yeouido, Seoul on Tuesday. Joint press corps|
This isn’t the first time that Yoon’s “style of controversy and explanation” has come under fire.
On December 22, Yoon sparked controversy by declaring, “People who live in extreme poverty and are uneducated do not know anything about freedom and do not feel the need for freedom.
He continued, “Although the goods created by society are distributed in the market, raising taxes and redistributing them to build the base of the economy and education for those in need is the precondition for the freedom. ”
Despite the follow-up explanation, his intention to focus on supporting the education and well-being of those in need was overshadowed by the first comment, which was interpreted as an insult to the underprivileged.
On September 13, Yoon said, “Nowadays technology is the key to making a living, and manual labor doesn’t pay off,” adding, “Even India doesn’t do that. Only (African countries) do it.
After the remark drew criticism for insulting specific countries, Yoon explained that he intended to “encourage students to pay more attention to advanced sciences and computer technology.”
Whenever his comments spark controversy, Yoon has claimed that the media misinterprets his comments by highlighting controversial parts. However, experts say a politician should be able to express his intention precisely, in order to prevent his comments from being misinterpreted.
This is especially true for a sitting president, whose choice of rhetoric is of added importance.
Hundreds of journalists are eager to retrieve a single quote from a head of state and strive to find meaningful meaning in the president’s choice of words and phrases. Each outlet publishes its own interpretations of the president’s words, as this gives a meaningful clue to how the affairs of state will unfold. Making controversial remarks first and then trying to clarify them is not the President’s way to send a message to the public.
When it comes to diplomatic matters, the importance of the president’s rhetoric takes on added importance.
“Politicians should know that every word they say can mean trouble,” said one senior diplomat, asking not to be named. “While they may think that straightforward rhetoric can satisfy the audience, they need to be very careful in wording sentences to avoid misinterpretation.”