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MILITARY

Saab implicated in South Korea spy arrest

A former South Korean air force major-general was arrested on Friday on charges of leaking classified military information to Swedish defence and aviation company Saab, officials said.

The ex-general is being held on suspicion of divulging information on the multi-million-dollar KF-X stealth fighter development programme, an official at the prosecutors’ office in Seoul told the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.

He declined to give details.

Yonhap news agency said the man, identified only as Kim, allegedly took classified photographs from a special library at the Korea National Defence University.

Based on the images, he later wrote documents in English and delivered them to Saab officials between August 2008 and May this year, it said.

The agency said Kim, who was once involved in the fighter project and now runs a consulting company, sought access to the library’s confidential reports for research purposes, citing his enrollment in a university graduate course.

The defence ministry said last week that security authorities were probing Saab’s local branch amid allegations it paid a local research firm called the Security Management Institute to secure classified information.

Saab has been interested in the fighter project, Yonhap said last week, adding its potential competitors include US firms Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

Investigators suspect the institute has presented reports on the fighter project to parliament in favour of Saab, it said.

Saab, according to the UK Financial Times, has acknowledged that its South Korean premises had been inspected but denied any wrongdoing and said it was co-operating with the investigation.

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NATO

Turkey forms ‘permanent committee’ to assess Swedish Nato deal

Turkey on Thursday said a new "permanent committee" would meet Finnish and Swedish officials in August to assess if the two nations are complying with Ankara's conditions to ratify their Nato membership bids.

Turkey forms 'permanent committee' to assess Swedish Nato deal

Finland and Sweden dropped their history of military non-alignment and announced plans to join Nato after Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of
February. All 30 Nato members must ratify the accession.

Nato member Turkey has demanded the extradition of dozens of suspected “terrorists” from both countries under an accession deal the three signed last month.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to “freeze” the process over Sweden and Finland’s failure to extradite the suspects.

He accuses them of providing a haven for outlawed Kurdish militants. “If these countries are not implementing the points included in the
memorandum that we signed, we will not ratify the accession protocol,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reaffirmed in a televised interview.

He said the committee would meet in August but provided no details.Turkey’s parliament has broken for its summer recess and will not be able
to hold a ratification vote before October. Some Turkish officials have warned that the process may drag out until next year.

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