New Belgian ambassador takes office after predecessor’s return over assault scandals

SEOUL-- New Belgian Ambassador Francois Bontemps began his post in South Korea early this month, the Belgian Embassy said Tuesday, months after his predecessor's return to the country over assault incidents here involving his wife.

Bontemps, accompanied by his Korean wife, arrived in Seoul on Sept. 3, according to the embassy.

Bontemps succeeds Peter Lescouhier, who returned home in early July amid mounting public criticism over his wife's involvement in two assault incidents.

Lescouhier's wife was questioned by police earlier this year for allegedly assaulting two employees at a clothing store, and she later got into an altercation with a street sweeper in a park. She did not face any charges for either of the cases on grounds of diplomatic immunity and because she settled the case with the victim.

In his inaugural message to Seoul, Bontemps said he will work hard to "correct mistakes" and for the two countries to elevate the bilateral partnership further based on the long history of diplomatic relations.

"For our part, we will strive to be strong and united enough to navigate through crises, address common challenges and correct our own mistakes; to be sharp and smart enough to identify and develop shared opportunities," Bontemps said.

It is the second time for Bontemps to serve as the ambassador to Seoul. His first term was from 2012-2016. In the meantime, he was the ambassador to Bulgaria and worked as the director of mediation at Belgium's foreign ministry.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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