Uncle Joe apparently pissed off some folk during his visit to Korea:
In particular, his words of warning against betting against the United States during a meeting with President Park Geun-hye last Friday prompted several domestic media outlets to criticize him, interpreting them as a check of China and Korea’s increasing economic and political dependence on the world’s most populous nation.
So, what exactly did Biden say this time?
“I want to make one thing absolutely clear. President Obama’s decision to rebalance the Pacific Basin is not in question. The United States never says anything it does not do. Let me say that again. The United States never says anything it does not do,” he said.
“As I said in my visits thus far in the region, it has never been a good bet to bet against America. It has never been a good bet to bet against America. And America is going to continue to place its bet on South Korea.”
It’s the “betting” part that has rubbed folk the wrong way as it came off as Biden coercing President Park to support the United States over China. Leading the complaints is—sit down for this—Korea’s opposition Democratic Party, which complained that if Biden’s intent was to threaten, his comments would be regarded as the “rudest comment in the history of summit diplomacy between the two countries” since George W. Bush referred to Kim Dae-jung as “this man.”
Chief among the complainers was DP chief Kim Han-gil, who likened Biden to a “drunken uncle.”
OK, that was pretty funny.
He also said Biden showed not even a minimum of respect in dealing with the president of a host nation. Ever the optimist, I prefer to see this as a positive thing—at least Kim acknowledged Park is the president, which is more that we can say for others in his party. Nor did allude to Park getting assassinated, which again, is more than we can say for others in his party.
Kim also didn’t like Biden grasping Park’s hand and leading her around—no, not because the whole White Male/Asian Female thing reminds of him of all those evil English teachers, but rather because he took it as the Veep showing off American power.
Well, at least the Dong-A Ilbo’s Choe Yeong-ae got it—it’s just Joe being Joe. And besides—with Park being single, at least Biden didn’t ask her if her husband liked her working full time.