South Korean president fires spokesman over 'unsavory incident' in U.S.
May 13, 2013 -- Updated 0033 GMT (0833 HKT)
- The president's office says a spokesman "damaged the dignity of the country"
- It took place during President Park Geun-hye's official visit to the United States
- Police in Washington say they are investigating a report of sexual abuse
Seoul, South Korea (CNN) -- President Park Geun-hye of South Korea has dismissed her press spokesman after concluding that he was involved in an "unsavory incident" during a state visit to the United States, her office said.
Police in Washington said they were investigating a report of sexual abuse.
The spokesman, Yoon Chang-jung, "showed inappropriate conduct as a high-ranking official and damaged the dignity of the country by being personally involved in an unsavory incident," the chief presidential press secretary, Lee Nam-ki, said in a statement Thursday from Los Angeles.
The embarrassing affair adds an awkward coda to the five-day visit to the United States by Park, South Korea's first female president. During the high-profile trip, her first since taking office in February, she met with President Barack Obama to discuss the recent tensions with North Korea along with other strategic and economic issues.
The South Korean Embassy in Washington now is investigating the incident, Lee said without providing further details on what Yoon is alleged to have done. The presidential office in Seoul didn't respond to repeated requests for further comment.
Asked about the matter, Gwendolyn Crump, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, said, "We are investigating the report of a misdemeanor sexual abuse. We cannot comment further, at this time."
In South Korea, the Democratic Party, the leading opposition group, called for Park to publicly apologize over the matter on Friday, the semiofficial news agency Yonhap reported.
Park and her office "should deeply reflect on their appointment of the wrong personnel and apologize to the people," said Kim Kwan-young, the party's senior spokesman, according to Yonhap.
Park is due to arrive back in Seoul on Friday evening.
Journalist Soo Bin Park reported from Seoul, and CNN's Jethro Mullen reported and wrote from Hong Kong. CNN's Alison Harding in Washington and Judy Kwon in Hong Kong contributed to this report.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The tragic killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a bitter public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0320 GMT (1120 HKT)
North Korea warns the United States that U.S. "citadels" will be attacked, dwarfing the hacking attack on Sony that led to the cancellation of a comedy film's release.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it's never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
More than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation, Unicef has warned.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1322 GMT (2122 HKT)
Boko Haram's latest abductions may meet a weary global reaction, Nigerian journalist Tolu Ogunlesi says.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
Drops, smudges, pools of blood are everywhere -- but in the computer room CNN's Nic Robertson reels from the true horror of the Peshawar school attack.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1431 GMT (2231 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.