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Archive for South Korea

Newsline: Mexican diplomat accused of sex crime in South Korea

A Seoul-based Mexican diplomat accused of sexually assaulting a local employee is currently in Seoul and plans to cooperate with the local police agency’s investigation, the Mexican Embassy in South Korea said Monday. A prior police probe indicated that the military attache sexually harassed a female employee at the Mexican Embassy on three occasions between June last year and January. He previously defied two police orders to show up for questioning and returned to his country. “The Embassy of Mexico in the Republic of Korea has been informed of the complaint filed against a member of its Military Attache Office for alleged harassment towards an employee of that office,” the embassy said in a brief press release. “The involved officer is in Korea with the willingness to cooperate with the local authorities towards the resolution of the case,” it said. “Mexican authorities will monitor the situation closely in coordination with their Korean counterparts.”



Newsline: US Embassy in South Korea promotes LGBT right

A rainbow banner hung on the facade of the US Embassy building in downtown Seoul on Thursday, in an apparent show of its support for the upcoming parade of gender and sexual minorities. According to the US Embassy, the banner, whose multicolor stripes symbolize the LGBT pride and their social movements, is to “support and participate in this year’s Queer Culture Festival” for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, or LGBTI. From Friday to Saturday, the colorful parade is to take route through the city starting at Seoul City Hall as the country’s annual Queer Culture Festival invites all participants in favor of same-sex marriage. The event is following the court’s rejection to approve a prominent gay film director and his partner of legal status for their same-sex marriage.


Newsline: South Korean protesters surround US embassy in Seoul

Thousands of South Korean protesters against the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in their homeland took to the streets in central Seoul to demand the reversal of the installation decision. About 3,000 demonstrators gathered outside the Seoul metropolitan government building as of 4 p.m. local time (0700 GMT), according to an organizer composed of advocacy groups and residents living in the THAAD site. The attendees clamored for the cancellation of the decision to install the U.S. missile interception system that is not needed anywhere in the Korean Peninsula. It was called a “human chain” event as a line of people stood around the embassy of the United States. A blue wave was slopping around the streets as people held blue placards and pamphlets that read “Repeal THAAD” and “Hate THAAD” as well as the most famous “THAAD out, Peace in.” Seoul and Washington agreed in July last year to place one THAAD battery in Seongju county, North Gyeongsang province. The site was changed in September into a golf course at Soseong-ri village to the northernmost of the county. Two THAAD mobile launchers were deployed to the golf course, just two weeks before the presidential by-election on May 9. Four more launchers were transported to a U.S. military base near Seongju, but it was not reported to South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The anti-THAAD protest rally was staged ahead of President Moon’s first summit meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington for two days from June 29.


Newsline: US embassy says CIA chief was in South Korea for “internal meeting”

CIA director Mike Pompeo was in South Korea Monday for an “internal meeting”, the US embassy in Seoul confirmed, following reports of an unannounced visit as tensions mount over growing nuclear threats from the North. South Korea’s largest daily Chosun Ilbo reported Monday that Pompeo arrived in Seoul at the weekend and held back-to-back closed-door meetings with the head of the South’s spy agency and senior presidential officials. Citing multiple intelligence sources, it said the CIA chief provided a detailed briefing on the Trump administration’s policy on Pyongyang and assessed the internal situation of the North Korean leadership. An official at the US embassy confirmed that the CIA chief was in South Korea, but said he had a limited itinerary. “The CIA director and his wife are in Seoul for an internal meeting with the United States Forces Korea and embassy officials,” he said. “He is not meeting with any Blue House officials, nor is he meeting with any political candidates,” he added, declining to elaborate further about any other possible meetings. Pompeo’s trip comes amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula following a series of missile tests by the North and speculation that Pyongyang could be preparing to conduct another nuclear test. Pyonyang’s latest attempted show of force was a failed missile test on Saturday that came just hours after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pressed the UN Security Council for more pressure to push the North into abandoning its weapons programme.


Newsline: South Korea Envoy Accuses Uganda’s Official Over Alleged $5,000 Bribe

The hard times dogging suspended junior Labour minister Herbert Kabafunzaki seem far from over with the embassy of South Korea now accusing him of detaining their national after he allegedly refused to pay a $5,000 (Shs18m) bribe. In an April 24 letter to Kampala Central Police Station (CPS) CID chief, and signed by Korean Consul Lee Chunghee, Mr Kabafunzaki is alleged to have asked Mr Woo Junghoon, a Korean investor, to first pay $5000 in order to secure a letter of intent to invest in Uganda. But Mr Kabafunzaki dismissed the bribery allegation on phone although he acknowledges the accusers visited his office and looked suspicious, a reason he handed them over to the ministry’s security personnel.


Newsline: Recalled Japan ambassador returns to South Korea

Ambassador Yasumasa Nagamine returns to Seoul after being recalled almost three months ago in response to Korean civic groups erecting a statue of a girl symbolizing the sexual slavery victims in front of its consulate in the southern Korean port city of Busan. Yasumasa Nagamine was called back in January, in protest of a statue honoring the victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery set up by a civic group in Korea’s southeastern port city of Busan. Tokyo took the action because it felt the statue went against the spirit of the December 2015 bilateral agreement to provide support to Korean women forced to provide sex to Japanese military personnel before and during World War II. In returning the envoy, Japan has cited the need to engage with South Korea, which is in a transitional period ahead of the May 9 presidential election, and to coordinate with its neighbor in dealing with the North Korean nuclear threat. Japan has repeatedly called on South Korea to “resolve” the issue of the statues following the 2015 agreement. With the recall of the envoy, Japan also postponed bilateral economic dialogue and talks on a new currency swap with South Korea.


Newsline: South Korean ministers snub meeting with Japanese ambassador

Two South Korean cabinet members have declined to meet with Japanese Ambassador Yasumasa Nagamine, who recently returned to Seoul after a three-month recall, their ministries said Thursday. Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo and Defense Minister Han Min-koo turned down Nagamine’s request, citing such reasons as scheduling conflicts. The Japanese envoy has also asked to meet with acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn. The government will make a thorough decision, a spokesperson for South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told reporters Thursday. But the odds seem slim, with the spokesperson also criticizing Nagamine for speaking publicly about his request to meet with a foreign leader before both sides had agreed to it. After arriving in Seoul on Tuesday, Nagamine said he wanted to meet with Hwang as soon as possible and urge him to affirm a commitment to a 2015 bilateral deal aimed at resolving the issue of wartime “comfort women.” South Korean media reported this comment as a breach of diplomatic protocol. Japan has called for the removal of a statue symbolizing comfort women near its embassy in Seoul, as well as another in front of its consulate in Busan. The latter had led Tokyo to temporarily recall Nagamine back in January. This has incensed the South Korean public. Most candidates in the presidential election scheduled for May 9 want to scrap or renegotiate the comfort women deal. The government is likely taking heed of such sentiment.