Presidential office denies role in decision to disclose summit dialogue transcript
Published : 2013-06-21 11:31
Updated : 2013-06-21 11:31
Cheong Wa Dae denied any role Friday in the National Intelligence Service's decision to show some lawmakers a 2007 inter-Korean summit transcript that reportedly confirms allegations that late former President Roh Moo-hyun made remarks seriously undermining the legitimacy of the sea border with North Korea.
On Thursday, the NIS showed the confidential document to members of the parliamentary intelligence committee. After seeing the records, ruling Saenuri Party lawmakers claimed that Roh did make the controversial remarks during the summit with then North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
The main opposition Democratic Party strongly protested, claiming the disclosure is an attempt to overshadow allegations that the intelligence agency mobilized some of its agents to post political comments on the Internet in an attempt to influence December's presidential election.
Critics also raised suspicions that Cheong Wa Dae was involved in the transcript disclosure decision.
"Is this something that Cheong Wa Dae is supposed to give permission for?" a senior presidential official said. "NIS officials must have conducted a review before doing that. They must have determined there is no problem (with the disclosure) and the responsibility for that lies with the agency."
The allegations about what Roh said about the sea border were first raised by a ruling party lawmaker last year ahead of the presidential election. It was one of the election issues because the opposition's presidential candidate, Moon Jae-in, was Roh's chief of staff when Roh allegedly made the remarks.
The opposition party has strongly denied Roh made such remarks.
Roh, who was in office from 2003-2008, was a liberal leader and sought greater reconciliation with the communist neighbor. His alleged remarks are consistent with the claims that Pyongyang has long made about the sea border.
North Korea has never recognized the maritime boundary, known as the Northern Limit Line or NLL, which was drawn unilaterally by the U.S.-led United Nations Command when the 1950-53 Korean War ended. Pyongyang has long demanded that the line be drawn farther south.
Areas near the border have been the scene of a number of bloody inter-Korean clashes. The two sides fought naval gun-battles in the area in 1999, 2002 and 2009. In 2010, the North torpedoed a South Korean warship in the area and shelled a South Korean border island. (Yonhap News)