July 28, 2010 10:35
A South Korean agent was deported from Libya for spying on June 18, a diplomatic source here said Tuesday. The National Intelligence Service official, identified as Jun, had been held since earlier that month.
Libya also arrested a South Korean missionary and a farmer for assisting the missionary, and withdrew three staff at its economic mission bureau in Seoul, which serves as the de facto embassy.
The government sent a negotiation team to Libya on July 20, but it has made little progress. Tripoli is demanding an official apology and assurances that this will not happen again, according to sources.
"Jun was engaged in tasks like collecting routine information about North Korea and its defense business projects with Libya, but Libya says that was not routine," the diplomatic source said. Press reports in the Middle East said Jun tried to find information about the country's leader Mammar al-Qaddafi and his family. "This is a misunderstanding on the part of Libyan authorities," the source said.
The government denies any link between Jun's deportation and the arrest of the missionary, but Libya maintains that South Korean missionaries are usually engaged in assisting intelligence activities and suspects the U.S. was behind them, sources said.
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