Seoul, May 20: A goof-up of timing over the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the leader of South Korea's ruling Saenuri Party, Rep. Kim Moo-sung, sparked a controversy here during the former's two-day visit to the East Asian nation, the Korea Herald reported.
Kim left after waiting for Modi for half-an-hour to complete his schedule, prompting his supporters and critics to engage in a debate. Indian officials had invited the Saenuri Party chairman to meet Modi but he was left waiting as the Indian prime minister was running behind schedule because of a longer meeting with Indian expats in Korea. [In pics: Modi's foreign tours since becoming PM]
As Kim was waiting, Indian officials requested him to meet Modi at the sidelines of the meeting with expats instead of a one-to-one meeting. Kim refused to agree, saying it was against the protocol. He even regretted the treatment that he got, saying it did not fit the diplomatic protocol, the news report said. [List of agreements signed between India & South Korea]
Kim, however, said that it was understandable that the Indian PM was on a tight schedule as he was there for just two days. He said the Indian embassy might have been at fault for the scheduling goof-up. [PM Modi didn't insult India in China; let's not distort facts]
Kim's critics said timings of visiting heads of state often change and the former should understand that. Some even went to the extent of saying that Modi outranked Kim.
Supporters of the Saenuri Party chairman backed him saying he should not have been kept waiting. They said a visiting leader should show respect for the chief of the host nation's ruling party as they can also go on to become the head of the state in future, the report said.
Kim is seen as a possible presidential candidate in South Korea in 2017.