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Betrayal, Espionage, and Asia’s Game of Thrones


There is plenty of spying in this messy world, even among allies. So in that context, the two recent cases of South Korean spying in Australia shouldn’t be all that surprising. Nevertheless, the WSJ reports, the revelation could pose a challenge as the two countries attempt to strengthen ties:

South Korea is Australia’s fourth-largest trading partner, with two-way trade between the countries valued at close to 33 billion Australian dollars (US$34 billion) in 2011, the most recent figure available. Australian exports to South Korea—about 5% of the total—are mostly commodities, including coal, iron ore and beef.

The nations, which have been in negotiations since 2009 over a free-trade agreement, are also close allies in the international arena, with Australia vocally backing Seoul in its recent dispute with North Korea.

Asian politics are unusually rough-and-tumble, with corporations close to governments using state agencies to advance corporate goals. And these are allies going at it! Now think about the level of industrial espionage carried out by, say, China…

[Photo courtesy of Shutterstock]

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  • Jim Luebke

    The US learned most of its spycraft from the British… by being on the receiving end. And it didn’t stop when we were the closest of friends — see Roald Dahl’s biography for a recent example.

    To some extent in this world, it’s every country for itself. Figuring out what our interests are, and figuring out how to secure them against others who are vigorously pursuing their own interests, is something that “globaloney” Leftists will never understand.

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