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S.Korea president to miss APEC summit amid political turmoil

Associated Press Associated Press 8/11/2016

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean President Park Geun-hye has decided not to attend an Asia-Pacific leaders' meeting in Peru next week, government officials said Tuesday, as she struggles with political turmoil at home over allegations she allowed a shadowy longtime confidante to manipulate state affairs.

Park will be the first South Korean president to miss an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit since the annual meetings began in 1993, the Foreign Ministry said.

It said Park's replacement for the meetings will be named next week.

Park announced Tuesday that she will allow the opposition-controlled parliament to select her new prime minister in an effort to reduce the turmoil threatening her presidency.

Prosecutors have arrested Park's longtime friend, Choi Soon-sil, and two former presidential aides over allegations that Choi, who has no official government role, interfered with important state affairs and used her presidential ties to pressure companies into donating large sums to two foundations she controlled.

Presidential spokesman Kim Dong-jo said Park made the decision to skip the APEC summit in September to focus on issues created by North Korea's strengthening nuclear weapons and missiles programs.

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