Seoul foreign ministry seeks to defuse controversy over Yoon’s Iran remark

SEOUL– The South Korean foreign ministry on Tuesday said President Yoon Suk Yeol’s recent remark about Iran during his visit to the United Arab Emirates was “irrelevant” to Seoul’s relations with Tehran, in an apparent effort to prevent it from spilling into a diplomatic controversy.

While speaking to South Korean troops in the UAE earlier this week during his state visit there, Yoon compared the UAE-Iran relations to that of South and North Koreas, and said the UAE’s “enemy and biggest threat is Iran.”

In response, the Iranian foreign ministry said it was “looking into and pursuing the meddling comments” by Yoon, and awaiting an explanation from the Seoul foreign ministry.

In a text message to reporters, the Seoul foreign ministry urged against “unnecessary overinterpretation” of the remark, saying it was made while encouraging South Korean soldiers.

It added the remark was “irrelevant” to South Korea’s diplomatic ties with Iran or other countries.

“Since forging diplomatic ties with Iran in 1962, our country has long maintained friendly and cooperative ties with Iran, and our commitment to continue developing the friendly bilateral relations with Iran remains firm,” the ministry said.

Lim Soo-suk, spokesperson for the ministry, added in a regular press briefing that Seoul has conveyed such stance to Tehran through their diplomatic channels. Lim stopped short of providing further details of the communications.

He added the ministry believes Tehran “well understands the intention” of the president’s remark.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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