Monday, July 25, 2005


Heard through the D.C. grapevine just now that South Korea's Ambassador to the U.S., , has resigned. A few days ago there was turmoil in the South Korean media when it was discover there were illegal recordings of a secret meeting between Hong Seok-hyun, then president of the JoongAng Ilbo (leading newspaper), and Lee Hak-soo, Vice Chairman of Samsung Group’s corporate restructuring office. The topic covered illegal contributions to the two leading candidates of the last presidential election.

Ambassador Hong has felt pressured to resign and didn't do so until now. Some more information:

South Korean Ambassador to the United States Hong Seok-hyun is caught in the biggest scandal of his seven months in office over illicit dealings in the lead-up to the 1997 presidential race.

He has so far managed to sidestep hullabaloos that threatened his career, but now he faces a graver quandary, as some have questioned whether he should continue his duties as one of the key diplomats to represent the in handling such important problems as the North Korean nuclear issue.

It was in 1997, just months ahead of the presidential election in December, when executive officers of a business conglomerate and a major daily allegedly had a secret meeting to illegally contribute to viable candidates.

Only some parts of the case, which also involved the public prosecution as well as politicians, have been reported by the local news media since Thursday based on an audiotape said to have been recorded by a secret team of the country’s counterespionage agency.

At first, most of the reports were cautious to leave the key figures involved unnamed. But Hong, then president of the JoongAng Ilbo, and Lee Hak-soo, vice chairman of Samsung Group’s corporate restructuring office, exposed they were the unnamed figures by filing a court request to prohibit broadcasting the news.
(full article)

When my uncle was Ambassador to the U.S., there was an honorable and trustworthy person in that post. This current situation is typical and reflective of South Korea's President Roh Moo-Hyun. Yeah, I sometimes hit low:)

[tags: , , ]

UPDATE: Today (Tuesday, July 26) the media writes on Ambassador Hong's resignation.

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