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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on Oct. 2)

2017/10/02 09:15

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Ambassador's dismissal

Korean Ambassador to Ethiopia Kim Moon-hwan will lose his job over sexual harassment allegations.

The latest news reports say the government's disciplinary board has decided to dismiss Korea's top envoy to the African country based on a Ministry of Foreign Affairs' investigation that found he had sexually harassed a female staff member at the embassy. The disciplinary board notified the ministry of the decision Sept. 26. State prosecutors will launch a criminal investigation into the ambassador.

The public was particularly alarmed about sexual harassment allegations against the ambassador because they coincided with news reports that a diplomat at his embassy had been summoned for questioning over allegations that he had raped a female staff member.

It is hugely embarrassing for the ministry that the head of mission and an underling at the same embassy are both being investigated for sexual misconduct.

It is rare for an incumbent ambassador to be dismissed for sexual misconduct. This reflects the strong determination of Kang Kyung-wha, Korea's first female foreign minister, to stop sexual offenses by ministry officials once and for all.

The foreign minister should continue to implement strong measures to eradicate sexual harassment. The ministry should introduce sexual abuse prevention training at the ministry and overseas missions and hold regular checks on ethics and behavior at embassies.

Above all, the ambassador's dismissal should serve as a cautionary tale not just for foreign affairs officers, but all government officials to become more aware of the grave consequences of sexual misconduct on their careers.

We certainly hope this is the last time a Korean embassy draws attention for sexual misdeeds.