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Australian FM: Australia-S. Korea relations still strong despite spy claims


15:49, May 02, 2013

SYDNEY, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr believes the relationship between Australia and South Korea is still strong and unlikely to be affected by spy claims, local media reported on Thursday.

Fairfax Media reported on Thursday that previously suppressed information revealed South Korea's National Intelligence Service ( NIS) was trying to "cultivate Australian officials and public servants to obtain sensitive information" on trade negotiations between Canberra and Seoul.

Carr told reporter in Sydney that he was not able to comment on matters of intelligence or security.

"In line with the longstanding practice in Australian governance, I cannot comment on matters of security or intelligence," he said.

But he said the claims would not damage the ties between the two countries.

"I believe the relationship with the Republic of Korea is so strong, so robust, that this will have no effect on it," he said.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organization has alleged Yeon Kim, a senior Australian agricultural trade specialist, was involved in the "foreign interference" by the South Korean intelligence operatives, according to the Fairfax reports.

Kim has lost his employment with the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Fairfax said.

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