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South Korea revamps notorious spy agency for reconciliation

Police to track North's espionage as domestic intelligence operations end

South Korean police officers stand guard in front of the Constitutional Court in Seoul.   © Reuters

SEOUL -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in's administration will strip down the spy agency used decades ago by predecessor Park Chung-hee to quash dissent, a long-sought goal of progressive reformers worried about interference in domestic politics.

The proposal agreed on by the government and the ruling party would rebrand the National Intelligence Service as the External Intelligence and Security Service while significantly limiting the scope of its activities. Domestic intelligence collection would be entirely halted, with responsibility for investigations into suspected espionage by the North shifted to the police.

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