Moon apologizes after suicide of military officer

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has apologized to the bereaved family of a female Air Force officer who committed suicide after alleged sexual harassment by a male colleague.

The officer took her own life last month after reporting that she had been sexually assaulted in March. Suspicions have surfaced that the military had attempted to cover up the case, leading the Air Force chief to offer to step down.

Moon met the female officer's family on Sunday amid growing criticism of the military's handling of the case.

The presidential office says he told them that he was sorry the country had failed to protect her, and promised a thorough investigation.

Earlier in the day, Moon delivered a speech at a ceremony dedicated to the war dead, including those killed during the Korean War.

He acknowledged that evil practices remain in the military, and pledged to address the problem not just for the human rights of soldiers, but also for their morale and national security.

South Korean media have been giving extensive coverage to the case daily. Yonhap News Agency called for gender equality in the military, saying some anachronistic perceptions must be corrected.