Deputy FM holds talks with New Zealand ambassador on bilateral ties
SEOUL, Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Gunn held talks with New Zealand’s top envoy to Seoul on Monday to discuss bilateral ties in the wake of tensions over a sexual abuse case involving a South Korean diplomat once stationed in Wellington.
“Ambassador Philip Turner said New Zealand values relations with South Korea, its longtime friendly nation, and hopes to further strengthen the bilateral relations,” the ministry said in a release.
Turner also expressed hope for the two sides to hold a vice ministerial policy consultation meeting at an early date, the ministry added.
Monday’s meeting came after a male New Zealander at the South Korean Embassy in Wellington accused the diplomat of groping him multiple times in 2017, a case that made headlines in both countries as New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern raised the issue in the phone talks with President Moon Jae-in in July.
The foreign ministry has said an arbitration process is now under way to settle the case.
There were no discussions on the diplomat’s case in Monday’s talks, a foreign ministry official said.
During the talks with the ambassador, Kim expressed thanks for New Zealand’s cooperation in helping some 1,900 South Koreans return home on special flights amid the coronavirus pandemic.
He also asked for Wellington’s support for South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee’s bid for the World Trade Organization director-generalship.
They agreed to cooperate in health-related areas, including the development of COVID-19 vaccines through various multilateral mechanisms.
Source: Yonhap News Agency