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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs