[EDITORIALS]Diplomatic hanky-pankyWhat is this food business and visa business? How long should diplomats, who ought to be representing our country and working for our national interests, be engaged in such shameful and illegal activities? A diplomat wrote a missive on the intranet of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs blasting the moral slackness of the organization and straightforwardly revealed the truth about our diplomats.
This diplomat disclosed the practice of a “food business” ― of charging private gatherings to public accounts, exaggerating the number of people at embassy banquets to add to receipts and disguising a daughter as an embassy employee to take her on an overseas trip when an ambassador accredited to more than one country traveled to present his credentials at the second post. These people have a lot of nerve.
These cowardly diplomats are not the majority. But similar issues have been raised in the past and it appears that a few diplomats are continuing them. That means there are structural problems in the ministry. Internal audits and National Assembly inspections have already exposed some unethical behavior by ambassadors and staff, and corrective measures have been ordered many times. Other diplomats have been criticized for their highhanded manner toward Koreans and visitors or have worked complacently, concentrating on promotions, good posts and good connections.
Chronic abuses must not be taken lightly. The ministry must investigate and deal severely with the matter. They must not again fall into elitism and cronyism. The fortunate aspect is that the news comes from a process of trying to correct wrongs within the organization, and we expect the ministry to act firmly.
Only then can the majority who sacrifice in the diplomatic realm live in pride and our diplomacy can live up to the standards of an advanced nation. Diplomats must reflect upon themselves so that such derogatory terms such as “food business” and “visa business” are never again associated with diplomats.