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.
Part of complete coverage on
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 1043 GMT (1843 HKT)
For the first time in 24 years, Germany has lifted the World Cup after beating Argentina 1-0 in extra time.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 2145 GMT (0545 HKT)
Do you know your gurkentruppe from your bananenflanken? CNN helps.
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 1129 GMT (1929 HKT)
Police moved in just one hour before Rui Chenggang was due to appear on air, leaving his anchor chair empty.
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 0927 GMT (1727 HKT)
A salvage team will attempt to float the ill-fated Costa Concordia again. CNN's Erin McLaughlin reports.
July 13, 2014 -- Updated 2058 GMT (0458 HKT)
A makeup artist, writer and model who loves monkeys and struggles with demons.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1029 GMT (1829 HKT)
Why are Iraqi politicians dragging their feet while ISIS militants fortify their foothold across the country?
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1332 GMT (2132 HKT)
An elephant, who was chained for 50 years, cries tears of joy after being freed in India. CNN's Sumnima Udas reports.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1634 GMT (0034 HKT)
Plane passengers are used to paying additional fees, but one airport in Venezuela is now charging for the ultimate hidden extra -- air.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 0732 GMT (1532 HKT)
Beneath a dusty town in northeastern Pakistan, CNN explores a cold labyrinth of hidden tunnels that was once a safe haven for militants.
July 10, 2014 -- Updated 0444 GMT (1244 HKT)
CNN's Ben Wedeman visits the Yazji family and finds out what it's like living life in the middle of conflict.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
Today's five most popular stories