Foreign Ministry fires diplomat for leaking call

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Foreign Ministry fires diplomat for leaking call

The Foreign Ministry decided Thursday to fire a diplomat for leaking the content of a phone conversation between President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump.

The decision was made at the ministry’s disciplinary panel held earlier in the day, ministry spokesman Kim In-chul said. Another official, who was also investigated for relaying the diplomat a copy of the conversation, received a three-month wage reduction penalty.

The diplomat, who worked at the South Korean Embassy in Washington, was accused of telling Rep. Khang Hyo-shang of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party what was discussed during the May 7 phone call between the two leaders. The diplomat acknowledged the wrongdoing, but denied he had any intent of harming the government’s policy.

The ministry has filed criminal complaints with the prosecution against the diplomat and Khang over the leaking of classified material.

In the phone conversation, Moon reportedly asked Trump to visit Seoul immediately after his May 25 to 28 trip to Japan, and Trump proposed a short stop in Seoul on his way back home from Tokyo. Khang disclosed the conversation early this month, accusing Moon of “begging” Trump to visit.

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