House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stopped in South Korea on her way back from Singapore and Taiwan, but controversy erupted when South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol opted to stay on vacation rather than carve out time for a face-to-face visit. Yoon had a 45-minute phone conversation with Pelosi, but that wasn’t good enough for a lot of South Koreans.
Indeed, Yoon’s staff didn’t help matters when they botched the messaging on the president’s refusal to meet.
Initially the president’s office told reporters that the meeting between Yoon and Pelosi was not arranged because of Yoon’s scheduled summer vacation. Then it suddenly said that it was coordinating with Pelosi’s office to arrange a meeting, but then reversed its announcement again, saying there was no coordination between the two offices.
They could have just been honest and said they didn’t want to get China angry at them. China is South Korea’s largest trading partner, and the nation’s business leaders are already jittery about the tension between Washington and Beijing. more