A South Korean naval officer has been arrested on charges of leaking military secrets to a Chinese spy, the country's defense ministry announced Saturday.
The officer, whose identity has not been released, is a lieutenant commander in the Defense Security Command, which is tasked with counterespionage, military prosecutors told South Korean news agency Yonhap.
The officer is accused of handing over military secrets in exchange for money to a Chinese agent. The suspected agent was believed to be a university student that the officer had contact with, while studying at a university in China between 2009 and 2012.
The allegations are the latest blow to strike the elite Defense Security Command, after two officials from the agency were jailed for six years and four years, respectively, last month for passing classified information to arms dealers, Agence France-Presse reported.
China's foreign intelligence activities have been thrown into the spotlight in recent months, after a high-profile cyberattack targeted the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and compromised the data of millions of federal employees, many of whom have access to sensitive information.
U.S. officials said that they believe the attack, as well as several other cyberattacks targeting U.S. government and commercial data originated in China -- a claim the country has denied. At recent bilateral talks, the two countries agreed to create a “code of conduct” to govern their respective electronic espionage activities, the Independent reported.
The U.S. had warned China that such activities were damaging vital economic ties between the two countries.