Valentin Moiseev, the Russian Foreign Ministry official arrested on July 3 for allegedly turning over secret information to a South Korean diplomat, was officially charged yesterday with high treason. The announcement, made by Russia’s Federal Security Service, follows last week’s expulsion of the South Korean diplomat from Russia, and a retaliatory expulsion by Seoul of a councilor from the Russian embassy in South Korea. (See the Monitor, July 6, 7, 9) Moiseev was serving as a deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s First Asian Department at the time of his arrest. He had previously worked in North Korea as a Russian newspaper correspondent and then as a trade mission employee, according to a Russian Foreign Ministry source. Moiseev faces up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted of the treason charge. (Russian agencies, AP, July 13)
It remains unclear at this time whether the tit-for-tat expulsions by Russia and South Korea have brought the spy wrangle to a close. Although both sides have said that they hope the incident will not harm broader bilateral relations, Russia reacted strongly to South Korea’s decision to expel a Russian diplomat. The Russian Foreign Ministry on July 10 called the retaliatory expulsion unjustified and suggested that Moscow was considering additional actions against Seoul. A ministry spokesman also said that Moscow was reviewing a request by South Korea for a meeting of the foreign ministers of the two countries in order to discuss the incident. In remarks made yesterday, the Russian Foreign Ministry again said that Moscow did not consider the spy incident closed. (Reuter, July 10; Itar-Tass, July 14) Russian Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Sysuev canceled a planned visit to South Korea–set to start on July 5–because of the spy scandal.
YELTSIN IMPLIES HE WON’T RUN FOR THIRD TERM.