Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for South Korea

Newsline: Man arrested for crashing his car into U.S. embassy in Seoul

A South Korean man was arrested for crashing his sedan into the front gate of the U.S. Embassy in central Seoul, police said. No one was hurt in the incident. Officials at the Jongno Police Station said the 40-year-old man, identified only by his surname, Park, suddenly turned his car toward the embassy gate and rammed into it Tuesday. (https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2019/06/26/Man-arrested-for-crashing-his-car-into-US-embassy-in-Seoul/2901561531856/) Some 20 cans of butane gas were found in the car. Investigators are trying to find out about his motive for the crash. They plan to seek a warrant on June 26 to formally detain him.


Newsline: Vehicle packed with gas canisters crashes into US embassy in Seoul

A CAR filled with explosive gas has smashed into the US Embassy in Seoul just days before Donald Trump is due to visit. The motor reportedly made a sudden turn before smashing into the compound’s gates in the South Korean capital. A 40-year-old man, named locally as Park Mo, believed to be the driver, was detained following the incident which took place at around 6pm local time. (https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/9369110/seoul-car-bomb-gas-canisters-crash-us-embassy-trump-visit-south-korea/) Police said the rental car suddenly turned right and slammed into the gates of the Embassy. After examining the car a box containing 30 butane canisters was found in the boot. South Korean police are now expected to consult with the US Embassy about strengthening the site’s security. They did not say whether or not the incident was being treated as an attempted attack.

Newsline: ‘Executed’ North Korean diplomat is alive

The North Korean diplomat who South Korea’s largest newspaper said had been executed by firing squad is alive and in state custody, according to several sources familiar with the situation. (https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/03/asia/north-korea-diplomats-intl/index.html) North Korea’s special envoy to the United States, Kim Hyok Chol, is being investigated for his role in the failed Hanoi summit that took place between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in February, the sources said. That meeting, the second between the two leaders, ended abruptly without the two sides reaching a deal. Kim Jong Un’s translator in Hanoi, Sin Hye Yong, also is in custody and under investigation, sources said.

Newsline: South Korea fires diplomat for leaking classified material

South Korea decided to expel a diplomat accused of leaking a phone conversation between the country’s president and his U.S. counterpart, local media reported. (https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/skorea-fires-diplomat-for-leaking-trump-moon-talk/1492979) On May30, the disciplinary panel of South Korea’s Foreign Ministry decided to fire the diplomat who was posted at its Washington embassy, according to Yonhap News Agency. The diplomat, name withheld, had shared details of the May 7 phone call between Donald Trump and Moon Jae-in with Rep. Khang Hyo-shang, an opposition South Korean lawmaker of Liberty Korea Party (LKP). The details made public include Moon’s request for Trump to visit Seoul after his Japan visit which concluded Monday and whether Trump had really approved South Korea’s push for food aid to North Korea. Kim In-chul, a spokesman for South Korean Foreign Ministry, told Yonhap that another official who shared a copy of the conversation with the diplomat would receive a penalty of three-month wage reduction. “The diplomat acknowledged the wrongdoing but denied he had any intent to harm the government’s policy,” the report said. Criminal complaints were filed against the diplomat and Khang over the leaking of a classified material. Khang had in a press conference revealed details of the conversation earlier this month, accusing Moon of “begging” for Trump to visit South Korea.

Newsline: North Korea exits shared ‘embassy’ with South near demilitarized zone in abrupt diplomatic pullback

North Korea has withdrawn from a liaison office it shared with the South near the demilitarized zone since September, an abrupt diplomatic pullback following Pyongyang’s recent threats to suspend nuclear talks with the U.S. South Korea’s Unification Ministry said on Mar. 22 that the North is vacating the liaison office based on “instructions from the superior authority.” The Kim regime conveyed it would notify Seoul over “further practical matters in the future,” according to the ministry, which didn’t specify a time frame. (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/north-korea-exits-shared-embassy-with-south-near-demilitarized-zone-in-abrupt-diplomatic-pullback-2019-03-22) Pyongyang’s decision comes at a perilous time for nuclear talks following last month’s nuclear summit in Vietnam, where the U.S. and North Korea walked away without a disarmament deal. Last week, a senior North Korean official, in a rare public address to diplomats and journalists, didn’t rule out the possibility it would resume missiles testing and called the U.S. approach uncompromising.

Newsline: Russia summoned South Korea’s ambassador

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned South Korea’s ambassador in Moscow on Monday and demanded that Seoul allow a Russian vessel to leave South Korea’s port of Busan, the ministry said. The ‘Sevastopol’ has been illegally held at the port, the ministry said without adding what had served as the pretext for the alleged detention.


Newsline: Croatia to open embassy in Seoul next month

Croatia is preparing to open an embassy in Seoul next month, spurred by an increased number of South Korean tourists there, a diplomatic source said Thursday. “It’s to open in Myeongdong in late October,” the source said, referring to a bustling district in central Seoul. It’s expected to focus on handling consular affairs and expanding bilateral ties amid growing interest in the Eastern European country among South Koreans. The Croatian embassy in Japan has covered major diplomacy on South Korea, which has an embassy in Zagreb, the Croatian capital. The two sides established diplomatic relations in 1992. Croatia has a consulate in Seoul as diplomatic representation.