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‘Facts about allegation of U.S. surveillance should be identified,’ S. Korean presidential office says

‘Facts about allegation of U.S. surveillance should be identified,’ S. Korean presidential office says

Posted April. 11, 2023 07:51,   

Updated April. 11, 2023 07:51


The South Korean presidential office said on Monday that facts should be established first with regard to the allegation that a U.S. intelligence agency wiretapped discussions by senior members of the National Security Office of South Korea. “Once the two countries establish the facts, we will request adequate measures to the U.S.,” it said. The office added that some of the leaked materials from wiretapping could have been edited or fabricated. Its comments seem to try to minimize the unexpected allegation’s impact on the bilateral alliance two weeks before South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s visit to the U.S. At the same time, the presidential office plans to strengthen internal security review and develop response measures. The allegation was mentioned during the chief secretary meeting presided by the president on Monday.

“The process of establishing the facts and requesting adequate measures will be conducted based on the trust relationship between South Korea and the U.S.,” said a member of the presidential office. However, he added that what was reported by the U.S. media is not a confirmed fact. “Establishing the facts is the priority as the U.S. Department of Defense also asked the Department of Justice to conduct an investigation,” he added. “It cannot be said that ‘a thief broke into a house’ without confirm‎ing if there was a thief and what he stole if there was one,” he also said. “As all countries in the world are engaged in espionage, there is no reason to say that we were robbed from the perspective of national interest.”

The National Security Office and the Presidential Security Service are reviewing measures to strengthen security. A member of the presidential office said on Monday that the Presidential Secretariat is cautious on the matter of security and will take further measures to strengthen security in the face of such an allegation.

Meanwhile, Kim Tae-hyo, the first deputy chief of the National Security Office, will visit the U.S. from Tuesday through Saturday to discuss final coordination for President Yoon’s state visit at the end of this month. Kim will discuss the allegation of wiretapping during his visit. Working-level members, including the director-general for North American countries of the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, also left for Washington on Monday.

According to Reuters, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a statement on Sunday that highly classified documents seemed to be included and that they are checking the validity of the photographed documents.

Kwan-Seok Jang jks@donga.com