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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs