August 05, 2020 12:25
A Korean diplomat accused of sexually assaulting an embassy staffer in New Zealand in 2017 may be extradited after he was recalled home from his post in the Philippines, New Zealand media speculated Tuesday.
Newshub said that the diplomat, identified as Kim, is "a step closer to facing justice" and "could be extradited to New Zealand."
But when asked by reporters about the prospects of the Kim facing additional disciplinary measures, a Foreign Ministry official here only said the ministry would "look into the matter."
When Kim was originally accused of repeatedly groping the male New Zealander, who worked for the Korean Embassy in Wellington, the ministry let him off with a slap on the wrist by docking him a month’s pay and swiftly posted him somewhere else.
The resurgent media furor seems to be forcing both governments into uncomfortable positions.
A senior Foreign Ministry official here said Monday, "It is not advisable for New Zealand to raise the issue through the media without requesting formal judicial procedures." The official also voiced regret that New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern raised the issue in a telephone call with President Moon Jae-in last month.
New Zealand's Foreign Minister Winston Peters in a TV interview last Saturday seemed to try and calm the clamor for extradition by claiming that sexual harassment "isn't a crime" in Korea, but then suggested that Kim should go to face justice in the island country of his own accord.
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