A leaked Pentagon document seen by the BBC reveals a sensitive conversation between high-level South Korean officials on whether to sell weapons that could be used in Ukraine.

Two of the senior aides to President Yoon Suk Yeol were the target of the intercept.

They are split between US pressure to arm Ukraine and their stance of refusing to arm belligerent nations.

To avoid appearing to have caved in to the Americans, one of the advisors proposes sending the shells to Poland instead.

Finding the source of the leaks, which the Military claims pose a major risk to national security, has become a top priority for Washington.

In order to replace its stock, South Korea agreed to sell artillery shells to the US last year. But, it asked that the US keep the shells for its own use and not deliver them to Kyiv.

President Yoon’s foreign affairs secretary Yi Mun-hui allegedly told Kim Sung-han, who was the national security adviser at the time, that the administration was “mired in concerns that the US might not be the final user” of the munitions during their talk on March 1.

They were also concerned that President Biden might speak with President Yoon directly about the matter, and that if South Korea changed its position on supplying Ukraine with weapons, it might appear as though the US had exerted pressure.

The national security adviser for South Korea, Mr. Kim, reportedly proposed they sell shells to Poland instead since “getting the munitions to Ukraine rapidly was the ultimate purpose of the United States,” according to the paper.

While insisting that it is impossible to listen in on private talks taking place inside the South Korean president’s office and that this discussion could not have taken place in the country’s secure underground bunker, the South claims to be looking into the leak.

The US has been open about its desire for Korea to arm Ukraine. It thinks South Korea, with its capacity to produce cutting-edge weaponry at a fast pace, might significantly influence how the battle turns out.

However, Seoul has consistently resisted doing so, citing its rule against providing weaponry to nations at conflict while secretly fretting about strained relations with Moscow.

This disclosure implies that the South Koreans were both aware of and receptive to the possibility that their rounds could land in Ukraine. This might erode its goodwill with Moscow.

“South Korea always plays this delicate balancing act, with the US on one side, and Russia and China on the other,” said Jenny Town, a Korea analyst from the think tank 38 North. “This leak shows it is the optics they are most concerned about. They’re trying to balance what they’re willing to do to support Ukraine with how it will be perceived.”

By gvoice

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