S.Korean Spy Chief 'in Secret Washington Trip'

      February 17, 2011 09:41

      National Intelligence Service Chief Won Sei-hoon reportedly met secretly with CIA Director Leon Panetta and other officials in Washington last week.

      Won visited at a time when the CIA was closely watching the Middle East, where massive popular protests forced the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Tunisian President Zine El-Abidine.

      Diplomatic sources on Wednesday speculated Won's visit to Washington could have had something to do with an inter-Korean summit. They said he may have needed to brief U.S. officials on clandestine talks between Seoul and Pyongyang.

      When Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo visited Seoul right after the North's shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last year, President Lee Myung-bak reportedly told him he would not rule out a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

      But another source said it is unlikely that any clandestine talks about a summit have taken place given tensions between the two Koreas.

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