News / Asia

South Korea President Apologizes for Scandal

South Korean President Park Geun-hye's spokesman Yoon Chang-jung surrounded by journalists leaves after a press conference in Seoul, South Korea, May 11, 2013. South Korean President Park Geun-hye's spokesman Yoon Chang-jung surrounded by journalists leaves after a press conference in Seoul, South Korea, May 11, 2013.
x
South Korean President Park Geun-hye's spokesman Yoon Chang-jung surrounded by journalists leaves after a press conference in Seoul, South Korea, May 11, 2013.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye's spokesman Yoon Chang-jung surrounded by journalists leaves after a press conference in Seoul, South Korea, May 11, 2013.
A scandal embroiling South Korean President Park Geun-hye's administration is threatening the jobs of some of her senior officials.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye, in her first comment on the scandal involving her press office senior staff,  apologized Monday amid growing public outrage that could result in the ouster of additional senior Blue House staff.  The scandal overshadowed the conclusion of her official U.S. visit last week.

The president is characterizing the alleged sexual harassment by her former spokesman as an unsavory incident involving a public official that had to have shocked the victim and her parents, and left “scars on the hearts of compatriots” in the United States.

President Park vows a full investigation that will not allow a “single speck of suspicion” to remain concerning the incident and how officials responded to it. She also said South Korea “will take whatever measures are necessary and cooperate actively” in the investigation under way by police in Washington, D.C.

The controversy erupted during her visit to the United States when it was revealed that DC Metropolitan Police had received a misdemeanor sexual abuse complaint.

Police have not identified the suspect, except to say he is a 56-year-old male.  However, officials in Seoul confirm it was presidential spokesman Yoon Chang-jung, who was fired after he suddenly flew back to South Korea.

Yoon contends the senior secretary for the president's press office, Lee Nam-ki, directed him to return home and not stay in his room at the W Washington Hotel as police had directed.  The hotel is one block from the grounds of the White House.

The president has not commented on whether she will accept Lee's offer to resign. Other officials have indicated they are also willing to accept responsibility for criticism for a perceived lack of transparency about the scandal, including a delay of about 36 hours in informing the South Korean president about Yoon's alleged misconduct.

Opposition politicians are demanding the resignation of additional senior administration officials.

Yoon denies making any unwanted sexual advances, saying he only patted the waist of the young Korean-American woman, who was an intern at the South Korean embassy.

Click to enlarge.Click to enlarge.
x
Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.
Speaking to reporters Saturday, the fired official contended there must have been a “cultural misunderstanding” that led the woman to file a complaint with police. 

Yoon also said details reported in the media are “unfounded rumors.”

South Korean domestic media quote sources in the Presidential Blue House as saying Yoon admitted touching the intern's buttocks, as alleged in the police report, which was obtained by VOA News, and that he was not appropriately clothed when the intern knocked on his hotel room door the next morning.

Steve Herman

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

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid