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Former Chinese Ambassador to Seoul Charged for Giving N.Korean Data to S.Korea and U.S.

Former Chinese Ambassador to Seoul Charged for Giving N.Korean Data to S.Korea and U.S.

Posted September. 14, 2007 03:08,   


Former People’s Republic of China Ambassador to Seoul Li Bin (51) had been under investigation by the Chinese Public Security Department up until early this year. He was charged with providing the United States and South Korea information about North Korea-Chinese relations as well as North Korean internal affairs, including the current status of North Korea’s National Defense Committee Chairman Kim Jong Il.

The Washington Post reported on September 13 that “Former Ambassador Li’s case is believed to be the most damaging state secrets case in China since 1994, when an army general was discovered to be a spy for Taiwan,” quoting an anonymous Chinese official. Former Ambassador Li was serving as deputy mayor of Weihai City in Shandong Province when he was summoned to Beijing last December for a Public Security Department investigation. This first surfaced early this year, but this is first time the specific allegations of his investigation have been disclosed.

The Washington Post also reported that Li was charged for regularly providing South Korea with information on Kim, and North Korea-China during a tour as China`s ambassador to Seoul from 2001 to 2005. Former Ambassador Li also seems to have been questioned on whether he has been handing over information on the six-party talks and the North Korean nuclear issue. The newspaper added that Li was alleged to have been providing related information to the United States as well, but it is not clear whether Li provided the information through Korean officials, or directly.

Former Ambassador Li graduated from Kim Il Sung University in North Korea and served a total of 18 years on the Korean peninsula, including three tours in North Korea and two tours in the South, rendering him the ‘number one Korea expert in China.’ Upon his return to China in August 2005, he was appointed as the Foreign Ministry’s special envoy for the Korean Peninsula. In June 2006 he was transferred to serve as deputy mayor and deputy Party secretary of Weihai City, Shandong Province.

After Li’s investigation was finished around the end of January, he was named as a researcher in a Foreign Ministry affiliated international affairs research institute, but his name was not on the formal researchers’ list.