SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea and Iran have sided with each other in a diplomatic dispute in the wake of remarks by South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol during a trip to the small Gulf country, which described Iran as an “enemy” of the United Arab Emirates. summoned the ambassador of this week.
During a visit to South Korean special forces stationed in the UAE on Monday, Yoon described the host country as South Korea’s “brother nation”, united by increased economic and military cooperation, and said that the UAE had been forced to leave Iran. I compared the threats I thought I was facing with the threats facing South Korea. A nuclear-armed North Korea.
“The security of our brotherhood is our security,” said Yun. “The enemy of the UAE, the most threatening country to the UAE, is Iran and our enemy is North Korea.”
Yoon’s remarks provoked an angry reaction from Iran’s foreign ministry, which said it was investigating Yoon’s “interfering remarks”. The South Korean government objected to the “unnecessary overinterpretation” of his comments, claiming that Yoon was trying to encourage South Korean troops stationed in the UAE and did not intend to comment on Iran’s diplomatic relations.
South Korea’s first vice foreign minister Cho Hyun-dong called Iran’s ambassador Saeed Badamchi Shabestali to the foreign ministry on Thursday to explain South Korea’s position “again,” foreign ministry spokesman Lim Soo-sook said. said at the briefing. Lim said the talks took place after Iran’s foreign ministry summoned the South Korean ambassador to Tehran over Yoon’s remarks.
Lim said Shabestali said in his meeting with Cho that he would “faithfully” pass on Seoul’s explanation of Yoon’s comments to his superiors in Tehran, but did not provide details of the conversation.
“As I have explained many times, (Mr. Yoon’s) reported comments were intended to encourage his mission in the UAE and have nothing to do with Iran’s diplomatic relations, including those between South Korea and Iran. There was no such thing,” Lim said. “The government’s willingness to develop relations with Iran remains unchanged.”
Yoon’s remarks, which have been criticized by domestic political opponents as “diplomatically disastrous”, come as the UAE seeks to hedge its ties with its main business partner, Iran. The United Arab Emirates is also home to about 3,500 US troops at Al Dhafra Air Base, a naval outpost in Fujairah, and elsewhere.
The Emirates have spent billions of dollars to purchase South Korean surface-to-air missile systems as part of efforts to defend against airborne threats. These threats include long-range drone strikes by Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels. These weapons may have been manufactured with or with the support of Tehran.
South Korea is weighed down by tensions over the collapse of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, with billions of dollars of Iranian funds remaining in Seoul and frozen by US sanctions. Iran detained a South Korean oil tanker for months in 2021 amid the conflict.
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https://wgnradio.com/news/international/ap-s-korea-iran-summon-each-others-envoys-over-yoon-comment/ South Korea, Iran summon each other’s special envoys over Yoon’s comment | Kyodo News WGN Radio 720