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Archive for South Korea

Newsline: South Koreans protesting U.S. troop presence break into U.S. ambassador’s residence

South Korean police detained 19 students after several climbed over the wall into the grounds of the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Seoul in protest against the U.S. troop presence in the country. The group, which identifies itself as a coalition of progressive university students, posted photos on its Facebook account in which several members used ladders to climb over a wall surrounding the home of Ambassador Harry Harris. In a separate video, apparently broadcast from inside the compound, they accused the United States of demanding a 500 percent increase in the cost of keeping some 28,500 troops in South Korea, holding a banner saying, “Leave this soil, Harris!” “Stop interfering with our domestic affairs!” they shouted, followed by “Get out!” and “We don’t need U.S. troops!” before being marched out of the residence by police. (https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/10/19/asia-pacific/south-koreans-protesting-u-s-troop-presence-break-u-s-ambassadors-residence/#.XasfHI1RU8o) Approximately 20 South Koreans illegally entered the official residential compound of the ambassador and attempted to forcibly enter the residence itself, said embassy spokesman William Coleman in a statement on Saturday. This is the second instance of illegal entry into the ambassador’s residential compound in 14 months. South Korea’s foreign ministry said it had requested increased security for the U.S. Embassy and the ambassador’s residence.

Japan embassy in Seoul posts radiation data amid escalating row

Japan’s embassy in South Korea has begun posting data on its website to show there is little difference in radiation levels between the two countries in its latest retort in a diplomatic and trade row rooted in wartime history. South Korea said last month that it will double the radiation testing of some Japanese food exports due to potential contamination from the tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant. The embassy said the radiation reading in Seoul as of Friday was 0.12 microsieverts per hour, around the same as 0.135 in Fukushima City, and higher than Tokyo’s 0.036. It will update the data every day the embassy is open, it said. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-korea-radiation/japan-embassy-in-seoul-posts-radiation-data-amid-escalating-row-idUSKBN1WE07W) The World Nuclear Association has said the global average of naturally occurring background radiation is a range of around 0.17-0.39 microsieverts per hour.

Newsline: South Korean diplomat stationed in Cambodia relieved for sexual misconduct allegations

A South Korean diplomat stationed in Cambodia has been relieved from the post following allegations of sexual harassment against a female embassy employee, an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The diplomat, whose name and position have been withheld, was ordered to return to Korea and is currently undergoing an internal investigation by the ministry regarding the allegations. On Tuesday, several local news outlets quoting the ministry official reported that, according to a ministry probe, a diplomat dispatched to the South Korean Embassy in Cambodia was released from his position in July for making inappropriate physical contact with a female employee and making unpleasant remarks in March and May. (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20190911000556) The Foreign Ministry is in hot water as this case marks the latest in a series of irregularities and misbehavior involving high-level workers. In July, a consul general in Japan was relieved from his position and investigated by police regarding accusations of sexual misconduct in the workplace. A year before that, a senior diplomat stationed at the embassy in Pakistan was suspended from his position for three months for sexually molesting a lower-ranking worker. The ministry has maintained a no-tolerance policy on sexual misconduct since 2017, after former Ambassador to Ethiopia Kim Moon-hwan was expelled and imprisoned for sexual abuse charges against three of his female staff members.

Newsline: South Korea’s foreign ministry probes embezzlement suspicions involving official at embassy in Berlin

The foreign ministry is looking into suspicions that an official at South Korea’s Embassy in Germany embezzled official funds, diplomatic sources said Friday. The official, locally hired in 2009 as an administrative employee handling general finances, was accused of pocketing at least 700 million won ($584,260) from the mission’s coffers between 2013 and 2018, according to the sources. A local media outlet reported earlier that part of the allegedly misused money included budgetary funds that had been set aside for President Moon Jae-in’s visit to the European country in 2017. But this case is not related to such funds, an informed source said. (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20190906000227) The official has been removed from his post. The ministry said it will take stern measures if the suspicions are confirmed. It is the latest in a string of misconduct and irregularities by officials at foreign missions. Two former ambassadors, to Vietnam and Malaysia, have been fired for accepting gifts in violation of anti-graft law and mistreatment of subordinates, while the ambassador to Mongolia has been referred to the central government’s disciplinary committee over alleged ties with a visa broker.

Newsline: South Korean Embassy in Tokyo receives ‘bullet’ in threat mail

Tokyo police have launched an investigation after the South Korean Embassy received a threatening letter alongside what appeared to be a bullet late last month. Investigative sources say the embassy noticed the delivery of an envelope containing a single sheet of paper and an apparent bullet. The mail was addressed to the former South Korean Ambassador to Japan. The envelope did not bear the sender’s name. (https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190903_23/) The paper inside said the sender possesses rifles and is plotting to target South Koreans. The person also wrote that South Koreans should leave Japan. In a separate case on Sunday, police arrested a 67-year-old man who punched and damaged the embassy’s mail box. The man was posting a letter of protest against the South Korean government.

Newsline: South Korea summons Japan ambassador as export trade curbs take effect

South Korea summoned Japan’s ambassador to protest against a decision to remove Seoul’s fast-track export status, which took effect on Wednesday amid a deepening political and economic feud. Japan dropped South Korea from a so-called white list of favored trade partners this month, which could mean more paperwork and on-site inspections for some Japanese exporters and potentially slow supplies of a range of goods. The decision prompted South Korea to drop Japan from its favored trading list and scrap an intelligence-sharing agreement. South Korean deputy national security adviser Kim Hyun-chong said it was deeply regrettable that Japan’s decision to scrap fast-track export status for South Korea had taken effect. South Korea would be willing to reconsider its decision to end the intelligence-sharing pact if Japan corrected its “unjust measures”, Kim told a news conference. “I want to stress the ball is in Japan’s court,” he said. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-japan-labourers/south-korea-summons-japan-ambassador-as-export-trade-curbs-take-effect-idUSKCN1VI0AM) Relations between the two countries worsened late last year after South Korea’s Supreme Court ordered compensation for some Koreans forced to work at Japanese firms during Japan’s 1910-45 occupation.

Newsline: Japan summons South Korean ambassador as row deepens

Japan on Thursday summoned the South Korean ambassador to protest Seoul’s decision to scrap an intelligence-sharing agreement with Tokyo, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said, as relations between the neighbors further worsened. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-japan-labourers-diplomacy/japan-summons-south-korean-ambassador-as-row-deepens-idUSKCN1VC1KN) Kono also told reporters that South Korea was misreading the security environment following its move. Seoul earlier said it was scrapping the intelligence-sharing pact, a decision that could escalate a dispute over history and trade and undercut security cooperation on North Korea.