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Political wrangling intensifies over Korea summit transcript
Publication Date : 05-10-2013
Political disputes escalated Friday over the handling of the transcript of the 2007 inter-Korean summit after the prosecution found that it was not transferred to the National Archives at the end of the Roh Moo-hyun administration.
The ruling Saenuri Party stepped up its attack on former president’s aides in the opposition bloc. The party claimed that they might have intentionally deleted the minutes before transferring other presidential records, to conceal Roh’s remarks, which allegedly made a concession over the Northern Limit Line, a de facto sea border with the North in the West Sea.
“The transcripts had not been handed over to the National Archives and its first edition had been deleted. This unprecedented case of discarding state records will put the nation into chaos,” said Rep. Kim Ki-hyun, chairman of Saenuri’s policy committee.
Under the law, the presidential records must be handed over to the central record agency before the presidential term ends.
On Wednesday, the prosecution also said that the transcript had been deleted from Cheong Wa Dae’s database, called e-Jiwon, while a revised version of the transcript exists in a system at Roh’s retirement home in Bongha, South Gyeongsang Province.
The e-Jiwon system was the archive system used at the presidential office during the Roh administration.
Aides to ex-President Roh countered that the transcript must have been omitted from the list of files subjected to be transferred to the central record management agency and that its absence in the archive was not intentional.
They didn’t comment on the transcript found in the system at Roh’s residence in Bongha.
The dispute further worsened the already heightened partisan tension over a curtailed pension pledge, the lovechild scandal of the ex-prosecution chief and reform of the National Intelligence Service.
The report could deal a blow to the main opposition Democratic Party, which had insisted that the Roh administration handed over the transcript to the state archives.
Prosecutors are expected to summon key aides and officials of the Roh administration starting Monday to question why the transcript was not transferred to the state record agency.
The list of aides includes former presidential secretary for records Im Sang-kyeong and former secretary for security Cho Myung-kyun. Rep. Moon Jae-in, former presidential candidate for the Democratic Party in the presidential election last year and former chief of staff during the Roh administration, is also included in the list.
The NIS disclosed its version of the summit transcript in June, stirring political bickering over whether Roh had made remarks to nullify the Northern Limt Line during his closed-door meeting with then North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
Rep. Moon said back then that he would stake his political career on Roh never having made such comments.
The Democratic Party refrained from confronting the Saenuri’s attack, leaving Roh’s aides in the party on defence instead.
DP leader Kim Han-gil urged the Saenuri to cease the on-going political fighting until the prosecution makes a final conclusion of its investigation into the lost transcript.
“(The political parties) must stop this consumptive political fighting and engage ourselves in productive competition to figure out how to revive democracy and improve the public’s livelihood,” DP chairman Kim said.
To bring an end to the transcript controversy, some Saenuri lawmakers also urged the NIS to disclose its audio file of the transcript.