중앙데일리

Envoy chided for skipping U.S. reception

Sept 17,2004
The South Korean ambassador to Washington received a verbal slap on the wrist from Seoul after news reports said he skipped a reception hosted by U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld commemorating the third anniversary of the terror attacks in the United States. Instead, he attended a launching party for a book written by his wife.
Han Sung-joo, Seoul’s envoy to the United States, had been invited to the 9/11 commemoration along with Mr. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell and ambassadors from other nations who have sent troops to Iraq. He did not attend, but did make an appearance at a book-launching party later that evening for his wife, Yi Seong-mi. Ms. Yi is an art history professor at the Academy of Korean Studies in Seongnam, Gyeonggi province.
Mr. Han said that his absence was not a deliberate snub. “I planned to attend both events but because I was busy trying to find out the facts concerning the Yanggang explosion in North Korea, I stayed at the embassy until 7:30 p.m, so I had to skip the reception, which began at 6: 30 p.m.”
U.S. President George W. Bush angered many Koreans recently when he omitted South Korea from a recitation of nations that were allies in fighting terror.
Mr. Han also accepted about $14,000 from an unnamed Korean-American acquaintance for the book publication party. Mr. Han said, “I have asked for the bill so I can reimburse him.”


by Choi Jie-ho, Kim Chong-hyuk


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