S. Korea, Iran summon each other's envoys over Yoon comment

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea and Iran have summoned each other’s ambassadors in a diplomatic spat triggered by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s comments

describing Iran as the “enemy” of the United Arab Emirates during a trip to that country this week. While visiting South Korean special forces stationed in the UAE on

Monday, Yoon described the hosts as South Korea’s “brother nation” tied by growing economic and military cooperation, and then compared the threat he said UAE faces from Iran to

the threat South Korea faces from nuclear-armed North Korea. “The security of our brother nation is our security,” Yoon said. “The enemy of the UAE, its most-threatening

nation, is Iran, and our enemy is North Korea.” Yoon’s remarks triggered an irritated response from Iran’s Foreign Ministry, which said it was investigating Yoon’s

“interfering statements.” South Korea’s government insists Yoon was trying to encourage the South Korean troops in the UAE and didn’t intend to comment on Iran’s foreign

relations, urging against an “unnecessary overinterpretation” of his comments. About 150 South Korean troops are stationed in the UAE, engaging in combined special forces

training and other joint military activities. The deployment, which began in 2011, grew out South Korea’s deal with the UAE to build the country’s first nuclear power plant.

South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong on Thursday called Iranian Ambassador Saeed Badamchi Shabestari to the ministry to explain Seoul’s stance “once

again,” ministry spokesperson Lim Soo-suk said in a briefing.