Korean envoy leaks Trump-Moon talk, to face charges

SEOUL (AA): A South Korean diplomat based in Washington will face axe and criminal charges for leaking details of a phone call between leaders of his native and host countries, a media report said on Tuesday.

In a rare diplomatic goof-up, the diplomat had shared details of May 7 phone call between U.S. President Trump and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in with an opposition South Korean lawmaker, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The details made public include Moon’s request for Trump to visit Seoul after his Japan visit which concluded Monday and whether Trump had really approved South Korea’s push for food aid to North Korea.

The Foreign Ministry in South Korea confirmed Tuesday that it will file criminal complaints against the diplomat and Rep. Khang Hyo-shang, the lawmaker, who belongs to main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP). The ministry did not reveal identity of the diplomat.

“Considering the gravity of the matter, we have decided to file the complaint against the official for leaking the classified information, and Rep. Khang for being the direct cause,” the ministry told reporters in Seoul on Tuesday.

After receiving the information, Khang held press conference in Seoul accusing Moon of “begging” for Trump to visit South Korea.

According to Yonhap, the South Korean Foreign Ministry will deliver result of the investigation later this week against the diplomat and another official from the same embassy.

The duo can face “sternest measures”, including dismissals, the report added.

The diplomat has acknowledged wrongdoing but denied “he had any intent to blemish the government’s foreign policy”, Yonhap quoted him as saying.