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Opinion

New Zealand says South Korean diplomat row separate from WTO chief pick

Country's ambassador to South Korea responds to Nikkei Asian Review article

| New Zealand
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern listens during a joint news conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Auckland in December 2018.    © AP

From Philip Turner, Ambassador of New Zealand to South Korea.

I refer to the article "Diplomat sex scandal in New Zealand imperils South Korean WTO bid" by Kim Jaewon published online on August 6.

The claim that allegations of indecent assault against a Korean diplomat formerly based in New Zealand might influence New Zealand's position on the candidature of Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee for the World Trade Organisation Director-General position is baseless.

Further, to insinuate that the issue could potentially affect the way New Zealand's Permanent Representative to the WTO, Ambassador David Walker, discharges his responsibilities as chair of the WTO body that appoints the Director-General is offensive.

New Zealand will consider candidates for the Director-General position entirely on their merits.

The issue of the Korean diplomat is entirely separate to this process.

As chair of the WTO General Council, Ambassador David Walker will discharge his responsibilities dispassionately and without guidance or intervention from the New Zealand government.

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