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, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

All About America

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