The U.S. government promised Korea to "review intelligence activities" after Seoul asked whether the National Security Agency wiretapped the Korean Embassy in Washington. This is seen as tantamount to an admission that it did.
"Seoul had demanded that Washington verify rumors about wiretapping and make its position clear," Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tae-young said Tuesday. "The U.S. has said it understands allies' worries and promised to review intelligence activities."
Cho neither confirmed nor denied that this was an admission that wiretapping occurred but merely said, "It's up to the U.S. to answer the question concerning the interpretation of the words."
In July, the Guardian reported based on documents disclosed by former NSA employee Edward Snowden that the NSA had eavesdropped on encrypted faxes and conversations among staffers of the embassies in Washington of 38 countries, including Korea, France, India and Japan.
The ministry said it twice asked the U.S. to explain itself and conducted security checks of missions overseas, including the U.S., but reportedly found no bugs.
Separately, the ministry has asked the U.S. to clarify if Korean presidents were among the victims of the NSA's bugging of the mobile phones of the leaders of 35 countries.