SEOUL, April 11 (Reuters) – South Korea said on Tuesday that information contained in a classified U.S. document released based on internal discussions among South Korea’s top security officials was untrue and altered.
Several documents providing a month-old snapshot of part of the war in Ukraine were recently released on social media, sparking a diplomatic spat between the United States and some allies.
A document detailing internal discussions among South Korean officials over US pressure on Seoul to help deliver weapons to Ukraine suggests the US may have spied on South Korea, one of its most important allies, and invited condemnation from the Asian nation. Legislators.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s office said in a statement that suspicions that his office in Seoul was being monitored were “absolutely false” and that trying to shake its alliance with the United States was “an act that compromises the national interest.”
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin held phone talks with his South Korean counterpart on Tuesday, during which both sides agreed that much of the dossier on South Korea was fabricated, Yun’s office said.
It does not specify which part of the document is untrue.
During a telephone conversation at the request of South Korea’s Defense Ministry, Austin, the Pentagon chief briefed the latest media reports on the leak and promised to stay in close contact with South Korea on the issue.
The revelation comes weeks before Yoon is scheduled to meet US President Joe Biden in Washington on April 26.
Some lawmakers from South Korea’s main opposition Democratic Party expressed “deep regret” on Monday, accusing it of a clear violation of national sovereignty and a major security failure by the Yoon administration.
Kim Tae-hyo, South Korea’s deputy national security adviser, said the latest dispute would not affect South Korea’s alliance with the United States as he left for Washington ahead of Yun’s visit.
“The United States is the country with the best intelligence capabilities in the world, and since (Yoon) took office, we have shared intelligence in almost all fields,” Kim told reporters.
In the undated document, South Korea agreed to sell the artillery and help the US replenish its stockpile, insisting that the “end user” be the US military. But domestically, top South Korean officials worried that the United States would turn them back to Ukraine.
South Korea has said its law prohibits arms transfers to countries involved in the conflict, meaning it cannot send weapons to Ukraine.
Reuters has not independently verified the authenticity of the documents. US officials have said some battlefield casualty estimates from Ukraine appear to have been manipulated to understate Russian losses.
Report by Soo-Hyang Choi; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman
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