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Yoon's pre-recorded interview could be aired on Feb. 7: report

By Son Ji-hyoung

Published : Feb. 2, 2024 - 15:01

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President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks during a meeting with key military figures to examine South Korea's security readiness posture at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Wednesday. (Presidential office) President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks during a meeting with key military figures to examine South Korea's security readiness posture at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Wednesday. (Presidential office)

President Yoon Suk Yeol is considering holding a pre-recorded interview with public broadcaster KBS as pressure builds to address the alleged graft scandal involving first lady Kim Keon Hee, according to news reports on Friday.

KBS is reportedly considering airing the interview next Wednesday, shortly before the Seollal holiday, or Korea's Lunar New Year, which falls on Feb. 10.

The presidential office declined to confirm the reports as of Friday morning.

KBS is currently led by Park Min, who the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea has described as being politically biased and leaning towards the conservative president.

All eyes are on whether Yoon will open up about the controversies surrounding his wife's alleged graft. The first lady was caught on a secret camera by a news outlet Voice of Seoul accepting a Dior handbag worth 3 million won ($2,260) as a gift.

South Korea's antigraft law stipulates that a public servant could face up to three years of imprisonment or a 30 million won fine if his or her spouse is caught receiving a gift worth over 1 million won.

Yoon's media appearances have been rare since his inauguration in May 2022. Yoon held his only press conference in August 2022 to mark his 100th day in office. His only interview with a South Korean media outlet was with the Chosun Ilbo newspaper. Yoon, however, has frequently appeared on foreign news outlets prior to visits abroad.

Yoon's daily briefing on his way to the office in the morning, so-called door-stepping, has been suspended since November 2022, a month after the ruling People Power Party lawmakers sued broadcaster MBC for defamation. The broadcaster had depicted Yoon using vulgar language concerning US President Joe Biden and the US Congress in a hot-mic incident.

Meanwhile, the presidential job approval rating came to 29 percent in the final week of January, according to pollster Gallup Korea. This marks the first time in nine months when less than 30 percent of respondents approved of Yoon's job performance in the weekly poll.