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.
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

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid