News / Asia

Park's US Trip Tainted by Spokesman's Resignation

South Korean President Park Geun-hye addresses the U.S. The Chamber of Commerce in Washington, May 8, 2013.South Korean President Park Geun-hye addresses the U.S. The Chamber of Commerce in Washington, May 8, 2013.
x
South Korean President Park Geun-hye addresses the U.S. The Chamber of Commerce in Washington, May 8, 2013.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye addresses the U.S. The Chamber of Commerce in Washington, May 8, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
— Less than three months in office, and during her first official visit to the United States, South Korea's president has suffered an embarrassing public misstep for her administration. On Thursday she fired her spokesman amid a police investigation in Washington that he acted inappropriately with an intern from the South Korean Embassy.

South Korea's main opposition party is calling for President Park Geun-hye to personally apologize.

Democratic Party spokesperson Bae Jae-jung says the scandal that quickly enveloped the president's spokesman, Yoon Chang-jung, was a foreseeable tragedy that has brought international shame to the country.

Bae says the party wants the presidential office (Blue House) to fully investigate and that President Park should apologize to the people of South Korea for hiring Yoon in the first place.

Domestic media in South Korea say Yoon hurriedly left Washington and returned to Seoul, not joining the President on her next stop in Los Angeles.

District of Columbia police have confirmed to reporters an investigation was launched after a young woman filed a complaint.

According to reports broadcast Friday on cable news channels in Seoul, the complaint states that Yoon, at a Washington hotel, allegedly grabbed the buttocks of a 21-year-old embassy intern, a U.S. citizen, who had been assigned to assist him during the presidential visit.

A group of opposition female lawmakers in Seoul released a statement contending police in Washington asked Yoon to stay in his hotel while they contacted the South Korean embassy, but that he went to the airport and left the country.

The governing Saenuri Party's spokeswoman, Min Hyun-joo, who is a lawmaker, is praising the administration for being quickly transparent about the incident.

Min, on behalf of the party, expresses “strong regret.” She says if the sexual abuse allegations are true this is inexcusable and that Yoon should accept responsibility for his behavior.

Yoon, before joining Ms. Park's presidential transition team after her election victory last year, was a veteran journalist known for his staunch conservative views and biting comments attacking opponents on the left.

Briefing reporters traveling with President Park in Los Angeles, an administration official said Yoon was dismissed for “inappropriate conduct as a high-ranking official, damaging the dignity of the country by being involved in a disgraceful event.”

It is the latest setback for Park's administration.

Amid political wrangling, six of her Cabinet nominees had to quit. They had faced varying accusations by opposition lawmakers and the media, including tax evasion, real estate speculation, bribery, links to weapons brokers, and sex being exchanged for favors.

Park is the daughter of a former president. Her father, Park Chung-hee, as an army general, led a 1961 coup and ruled until 1979 when he was assassinated by his intelligence chief.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid