Former Ambassador Charged With Leaking State Secrets

By Jiang Yuanzhen, Central News Agency
February 22, 2007 Updated: February 22, 2007

SEOUL—Former Chinese ambassador to South Korea, Li Bin, has been detained by Chinese authorities on charges of leaking state secrets, according on a report on Feb 20 in South Korea's Chosun Ilb.

The Chosun Ilbo, South Korea's leading newspaper, reported that Li had been the Chinese envoy in Seoul from September 2001 to August 2005. After returning to China, Li was appointed as ambassador in charge of North Korean nuclear affairs. Li had been serving as deputy mayor of Weihai City in China's eastern Shandong Province since May 2006. But last December Li was suddenly summoned by Beijing authorities for questioning.

At the end of 2006, Li lost his position as deputy mayor of Weihai. Chinese authorities offered no official explanation for his dismissal.

According to the report, the state secrets supposedly leaked by Li have not been revealed.

When meeting with Gyeonggi Governor Kim Moon-soo in South Korea in August 2006, Li proposed a “train ferry” linking South Korea's Pyeongtaek and China's Weihai.

Li served at the Chinese Embassy in Pyeongyang in 1986 and 1997 respectively. When North Korean leader Kim Jong-il visited China, Li was an official guide.

Because of the sudden accusation against Li, it is speculated that the information Li has divulged to South Korean authorities may have the potential to adversely impact the long-term relationship between China and North Korea.