South Korea’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday downplayed President Yoon Suk Yeol’s remarks made a day earlier during his state visit to the United Arab Emirates, in which he said that Iran was the UAE’s “enemy,” and compared their relationship to inter-Korean hostilities.
Yoon was offering a word of encouragement to the soldiers while visiting a Korean special forces unit stationed in Abu Dhabi to train local troops, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lim Soo-suk said at briefing, noting it was unnecessary to read anything more into Yoon’s comments.
Yoon called the UAE a “brother country” with whom Seoul has to address security threats together as they face similar security landscapes.
“Seoul and Tehran have been on excellent terms with each other since 1962, when they first established diplomatic ties,” Lim said, adding the two countries are closely communicating with each other.
Cho Hyun-dong, the first vice foreign minister, said he believed Iran understood “our version of what Yoon had actually meant.”
But Tehran has demanded that Seoul explain the rationale behind Yoon’s “undiplomatic” remarks, with its Foreign Ministry openly accusing Yoon of “meddling” in affairs between Tehran and Abu Dhabi, the “two neighbors and friends.”
“He (Yoon) is totally unaware of the historical and friendly relations between Iran and the Persian Gulf littoral states, including the UAE, as well as the very quick and positive developments in this regard,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said in a statement on Monday.