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South Korean president skips in-person meeting with Pelosi, causing controversy

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi He concluded a two-day visit to Seoul on Thursday, but a non-face-to-face meeting with the president sparked controversy among South Koreans.

Pelosi is the first sitting speaker Since Dennis Hastert visited Seoul in 2002, she visits South Korea.

But public criticism of South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol is on the rise. Pelosi skipped a face-to-face meeting with Pelosi because she was spending her summer vacation in the capital, Seoul.

Despite her official visit to Seoul, South Korea’s presidential office has given some reaction to the meeting with Pelosi.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) addresses the media after meeting with South Korean National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo during the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea on August 4, 2022. (Photo by Kim Min Hee – Poole/Getty Images)

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Initially, the Blue House told reporters that the meeting between Yoon and Pelosi was not arranged because Yoon was scheduled for summer vacation. Then suddenly he said he was coordinating with Pelosi’s office to arrange a meeting, but then reversed that announcement again, saying there was no coordination between the two offices.

Yoon was staying at his home in Seoul, but the agency confirmed that the two would eventually talk over the phone rather than meet in person. The call between the two lasted for 40 minutes.

Early in her trip, she met with leaders from Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan before arriving in Seoul. She will also meet with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday.

South Korea's new president Yoon Suk-yeol waves after his presidential inauguration in front of the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, May 10, 2022.

South Korea’s new president Yoon Suk-yeol waves after his presidential inauguration in front of the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, May 10, 2022.
(AP photo/Lee ​​Jin-man)

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Choi Yong-bum, senior presidential public affairs secretary, said the decision not to meet with Pelosi was based on “national interests.”

However, officials declined to answer further questions from reporters about what “national interest” refers to in this situation.

The controversy was fueled when Pelosi’s delegation arrived at Osan Air Force Base on Wednesday, where photos showed Seoul officials absent to welcome her and the delegation there. rice field.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) meets with South Korean National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo (far left) during a session of the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, August 4, 2022.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) meets with South Korean National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo (far left) during a session of the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, August 4, 2022.
(Kim Min-hee – Poole/Getty Images)

Choi said Pelosi’s counterpart, the Speaker of the National Assembly, should have been responsible for holding the welcoming ceremony. He also claimed that Pelosi’s office turned down the ceremony given that her delegation arrived late at night on Wednesday.

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Pelosi’s office has yet to issue a statement on the controversy stemming from the criticism that much of the public has directed at the South Korean president.

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