Gaffes Riddle Moon's Southeast Asia Trip

  • By Lee Min-seok

    March 21, 2019 12:41

    President Moon Jae-in's Southeast Asia trip was riddled with gaffes big and small.

    In Malaysia, Moon was caught in a language slip during a summit and dinner with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, when he offered an evening greeting in Bahasa in the afternoon and vice versa in a clumsy attempt to endear himself to his hosts.

    In Brunei, during a dinner hosted by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Moon proposed a toast that apparently offended some pious guests in the strictly dry Muslim country.

    Some Bruneian officials apparently refused to respond to Moon's toast, while others even tried to stop the Korean guests from joining in. But a Cheong Wa Dae official said the toast had been "agreed by both sides in advance."

    President Moon Jae-in (left) speaks at a joint press conference with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on March 13. /Yonhap

    And when Moon was in Cambodia, Cheong Wa Dae accidentally posted a photograph of Taiwan's National Theater and Concert Hall on its official Facebook page instead. A government official said, "It is rare to see so many mistakes in the protocol of a head of state."

    Cheong Wa Dae admitted the mistakes, while Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said, "There were staff who lacked professionalism and focus."

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