An LGBTQ flag which was hung from the building in late May to mark Pride Month was also removed. The department pointed out that the federal government does not promote donations to specific nonprofit organizations.
Coleman said the ambassador instructed the banner to be taken down to avoid the misunderstanding that US taxpayers' money is spent to benefit such organizations, but added it does not lessen the principle and ideals expressed.
The banner was displayed with the consent of U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris, who tweeted, "I believe in what President JFK said on June 10, 1963, at American University: 'If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.' United States of America is a free & diverse nation...from that diversity we gain our strength". "This in no way lessens the principles and ideals expressed by raising the banner, and the Embassy will look for other ways to convey fundamental American values in these times of difficulty at home".
Pompeo had ordered that only the USA flag should fly from embassy flagpoles.
Mr. Harris was appointed to the ambassadorship by President Trump in 2018. The sign reads "Don't forget it".
After the banner was ordered down, William Coleman, the embassy spokesman, said Harris's reason for putting it up was to "communicate a message of solidarity with Americans concerned with racism, especially racial violence against African Americans" but said it was taken down to avoid the "misperception" that taxpayer dollars were used to support an organization.