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South Korea's Yun stirs up discussions with an unconventional communication style

Almost every morning, before starting work, the new South Korean president stops chatting with journalist Scrum, who is camping in the lobby of Cheong Wa Dae. Yun Suk-yul stands on the red carpet in front of a flashing camera, a boom microphone, and a line of reporters yelling at each other, and she talks about various issues, both serious and easy-going. I have stated my opinion.

She considered whether the K-POP group BTS should be exempt from military service. He commented on when North Korea would conduct its next weapons test. He regularly answers his questions about his wife. His wife's extravagant personality and busy public schedule have attracted constant media surveillance. At one point, he casually invited a reporter to a kimchi stew meal.

This is the fulfillment of Yun's campaign promise. Yun is a conservative political outsider who has never been elected, and he promised to be more accessible than the former South Korean president, who was criticized for having too little media involvement.

Yun's informal communication style is routine in many countries, but unprecedented in South Korea. Other than the annual press conference, the South Korean president rarely meets the media. When they do, their comments are usually intentional, formal, and unobtrusive.

As a result, Yun's so-called "door stepping" session has caused a great deal of turmoil in Korean politics. Critics say his actions are shallow, dignified, and lowering the standards of political etiquette. Yoo Hyun-jae, a communication professor at Soe University in Seoul, said it was a "childish story." "This kind of casual language may have developed in the United States, but there is no such culture in South Korea," Yu told VOA.

Even some of Yun's conservative allies are worried about his unconventional communication style. In an interview with local media, former South Korean Conservative leader Kim Jong Un said Yun's remarks were improperly simplified. Kim said that political rhetoric should not be constructed "in the way the public speaks." He added, "The president's words are directly communicated to the public and must be very sophisticated and cautious."

Agenda setting

So far, the Korean media has taken full advantage of the friendliness of the new president. Yun's improvised remarks dominate political reporting, generate up-to-date news alerts, and create a fresh news cycle that serves as a source of enthusiastic talk show discussions throughout the day.

Some critics use the feedback loop to organize or distract public debates, especially as Yun appears to be deteriorating his political fate. I'm worried about that. Only a month after his inauguration, Yun's approval rating is already below 45%.

Yun's advocates say it is natural to use the president to set the agenda in democracy, where persuasiveness is the key to policy making. They claim that Yun is only talking directly to people, bypassing the media, which is widely regarded as prejudiced.

This kind of tactic is becoming more and more common in democracies around the world. In the United States, former President Donald Trump spoke to reporters several times a day and used social media to share his ideas on a near-constant basis.

There is only one Trump

Some analysts compared Trump and Yun. Both men say they have little political experience before becoming president and are relatively non-ideological outsiders.

But the comparison is only so far. Former video game host Trump has been working with and working with the media for decades, but former prosecutor Yun can look uncomfortable in front of the camera. Often. Many of his allies are afraid of making guffs

Another difference: Yun doesn't adopt social media like Trump. And rivals.

"Trump's outreach was usually obfuscated or self-promoted," while Yun "seems to be serious about answering questions and making sincere efforts," said Busan National University in South Korea. Professor Robert Kelly said. University.

"Every democratic president has a large agenda-setting power — such as the bully Palpit. I don't think it's a big deal," Kelly added. "If Yun monopolizes the debate, [Korean parliamentarians] can help."

However, due to the young nature of South Korean democracy, there are concerns about Yun's media approach. May be prolonged. In the view of a journalist in a leftist newspaper, many Koreans remember the country's previous military junta when the newspaper faithfully announced the president's words on their top page each morning. Today's dynamics may be radically different, but Yun's approach is still offensive to many Koreans, journalists said without permission to publicly discuss the issue.

As a solution, the Kwan Hung Club, a nonpartisan association of Korean journalists, is proposing to reduce the size of media pools camped outside Yun's office. According to the organization, such restructuring will make the front door session more substantive by improving the quality of the questions. Cheong Wa Dae has not yet responded to the proposal, Kwanhun Club said.

Meanwhile, Yun seems to be more comfortable with the media. In the last few weeks, his front door session has lasted longer — giving more discussion to both his supporters and critics.

"If he is trying something new, it may be considered positive," said Professor Lee Jun-han of Incheon National University. "But if it just turns out to be a show, that's a problem."