The Belgian ambassador to South Korea has been recalled even earlier than expected as a result of his wife recently becoming involved in a second fight just months after slapping a shopkeeper.
Belgian Foreign Affairs Minister Sophie Wilmès decided on Monday that Peter Lescouhier had to imminently return from South Korea after it was reported that his wife, Xiang Xueqiu, had hit a 65-year-old street sweeper during an argument.
The foreign ministry told Politico that, although the circumstances of the incident “remained unclear", Wilmès has indicated the ambassador should “return to Belgium without further delay", citing the “responsibility of an ambassador to the host country and given our desire to maintain excellent relations with the Republic of Korea.”
On Monday morning, Xiang Xueqiu started an argument with the street cleaner after he allegedly touched her with his broom while he was cleaning the streets.
Following an exchange of words, both parties hit each other, and the cleaner reportedly pushed her to the ground, during which Xiang Xueqiu hurt her back. Neither of the parties filed charges.
At the end of May, Wilmès already announced that the envoy would be recalled earlier in July in the “interest of bilateral relations”, following reports of an incident during which Xiang Xueqiu hit a Seoul salesperson for accusing her of theft.
Both incidents have caused a stir in South Korea, especially on social media, and following the first incident, many people called on the ambassador and his wife to leave the country.