Korean Politicians Tremble at WikiLeaks Cables

      December 06, 2010 13:01

      The WikiLeaks disclosure of U.S. diplomatic telegrams is proving a big headache for both the ruling and opposition parties in Korea. The telegrams already disclosed contain the full names of high-ranking diplomatic officials together with their off-the-record remarks.

      The cables are a compendium of informal reports by U.S. diplomats all over the world to their masters at the State Department, analyzing the political situation of countries and reporting on encounters with influential figures.

      There are apparently 1,980 diplomatic telegrams from the U.S. Embassy in Seoul in the WikiLeaks cache, 480 from 2007, 367 from 2008, 690 from 2009 and 102 from 2010.

      One diplomatic source said on Sunday, "Our embassies overseas report analysis of the political situation of the respective countries in much the same way. Diplomats meet politicians and civil servants of the countries where they are working and generate reports on things like the inclination of the current government and election outlook. The U.S. Embassy in Seoul did something along the same lines." 

      The trouble is that the sources of the information are mentioned by name. Korean politicians regardless of party affiliation are reportedly pressing their aides to get their hands on the WikiLeaks documents as soon as possible so they can work out ways to limit damage they may suffer. If they were indiscreet about fellow politicians or presidential candidates in the past, they could find themselves in an awkward situation.

      The Korean and U.S. governments are reportedly trying to figure out what the cables WikiLeaks is releasing piecemeal may contain and how to react. But one diplomatic source said, "Nobody knows which particular telegrams have been leaked." 

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