South Korean diplomat recalled from Ethiopia over alleged rape

A senior South Korean diplomat has been recalled from Ethiopia after he allegedly raped a female colleague, Seoul’s foreign ministry said Thursday, as it issued a public apology.

The incident came after two other South Korean diplomats were punished for sexual misbehaviour last year.

“Bowing low, the ministry offers the most sincere apology to the people, holding itself deeply responsible for the sex crime committed by a diplomat in Ethiopia,” ministry spokesman Cho June-Hyuck said in a statement.

The diplomat, who is currently under questioning, will be subject to the “most severe punishment” under the law, he said, adding the man would lose his job and face criminal charges.

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Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, appointed by new liberal President Moon Jae-In to reform the ministry, said she was “appalled” at the incident.

“Especially in the case of sexual misbehaviour, the principle of no tolerance must be applied,” she said.

The diplomat and the Korean woman in her 20s, who was under his supervision, reportedly consumed three bottles of wine together at dinner. After she passed out, the man took her to his home and raped her, South Korean media said.

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It is the third sexual incident involving one of Seoul’s diplomats in less than a year.

In December, a South Korean ambassador based in the Middle East had his salary cut after being found to have sexually harassed an embassy employee.

In September last year, a South Korean diplomat in Santiago was caught harassing teenage Chilean girls on a video released by a TV network in the South American country.

He was recalled and fired, with Korean ambassador Yu Ji-Eun apologising to the girls and their families.

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