No clear answer from Washington on alleged eavesdropping

Posted on : 2013-10-30 15:08 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Officials in Washington don’t confirm or deny that S. Korea was among the countries allegedly wiretapped by the NSA

By Park Hyun, Washington correspondent

Diplomatic officials who asked the US to confirm if the South Korean president was among 35 heads of state allegedly eavesdropped on by the National Security Agency (NSA) received only a vague reply, sources said on Oct. 28.

In its response, the US reportedly just said it “understood” Seoul’s position.

According to accounts from various diplomatic sources, the South Korean government inquired with the US State Department through its embassy in Washington and other diplomatic channels to confirm the allegations after reports of eavesdropping surfaced on Oct. 24. The government also reportedly stressed the magnitude of the issue if the head of state was eavesdropped on.

But the only reply from the US was to say it was “aware” of Seoul’s position, without giving a clear answer on whether any eavesdropping took place.

Speaking at a briefing on Oct. 24, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Cho Tae-young said, “Our understanding is that this was not a final answer.”

“We are still waiting for the final answer,” Cho added.

The US is said to be examining the issue internally, but at the moment there is no way of knowing when it can offer confirmation.

With the news coming in the wake of July’s revelations about NSA wiretapping of the South Korean embassy in Washington, there are concerns over South Korea’s ability to get all the facts of the situation.

Meanwhile, Washington has responded to press reports by offering only a seeming admission of tapping in certain countries, including Germany.


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