Diplomat fired after return to Korea

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Diplomat fired after return to Korea

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has dismissed the disgrace Korean diplomat suspected of sexually harassing minors in Chile who was recalled to Seoul last week.

The Korean Foreign Ministry’s disciplinary committee convened Tuesday in Seoul and reached the decision to expel the diplomat, surnamed Park, who had been in charge of cultural affairs at the Embassy in Chile.

The committee of seven members, including three experts outside of the ministry, unanimously chose to dismiss Park as a diplomat, which is the most severe disciplinary action it can take.

“I will accept whatever punishment,” Park told the committee, though he is said to have denied that he used any coercion or violence, and asked, “Please take into consideration that I worked hard to promote Korean culture.”

The committee did not, however, grant any leniency as Park is accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old Chilean girl in September, whom he taught Korean language.

Earlier this month, the Chilean TV show “En Su Propia Trampa,” or “In Your Own Trap,” aired by local broadcaster Canal 13, showed Park making sexual advances on a woman whom producers had hired to pose as a teenage school girl after receiving a tip about his alleged actions. A preview of the show went viral on social media.

Park also faces an accusation that he raped a 12-year-old girl, but he has denied this, and the ministry’s decision to remove him was based on the incidents involving the 14-year-old girl and the actress posing as a minor.

The Korean Foreign Ministry immediately recalled Park, who returned to Seoul on Dec. 20 and was summoned for investigation. The ministry emphasized that it will implement a “no-tolerance principle” toward sexual harassment and push for criminal charges.

The ministry Tuesday said that with the cooperation of Chilean law enforcement authorities, it will seek to obtain evidence against the diplomat and pursue criminal charges. It plans to refer Park’s case to Korean prosecution.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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