Sat. May 25th, 2024

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol held a rare press conference Thursday, admitting “shortcomings” after his party’s recent electoral defeat, and laying out policies on issues from the country’s low birthrate to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The press conference was the president’s first in nearly two years, and comes after his party suffered a drubbing in legislative elections last month.

On Ukraine, Yoon vowed to keep strong ties with Kyiv while maintaining a smooth relationship with Russia, ruling out direct weapons shipments and telling reporters that it was his “firm stance” not to send lethal arms to countries at war.

On South Korea’s birthrate, one of the world’s lowest, he unveiled plans to create a ministry to tackle the issue, which he described as “a national emergency”. 

His party’s defeat in the April 10 parliamentary elections prompted calls for Yoon to change his policy direction and leadership style, as his approval ratings languish less than halfway through his five-year term.

Yoon said he has “pondered a lot over what have been the shortcomings” of his administration. 

“Communication to explain policy drives and the extent of change people have felt has fallen short,” he said.

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