The Korea Herald


Lawmakers say they cannot find summit records on NLL

By 김정보

Published : July 18, 2013 - 09:18

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The lawmakers chosen to review classified records from the 2007 inter-Korean summit have not been able to locate the wanted transcripts after two rounds of searches, raising the possibility that they may be permanently lost, parliamentary sources said Wednesday.

Ten legislators were selected from ruling and opposition parties to confirm dialogue exchanges between then South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader at the time, Kim Jong-il, to see if Roh made remarks or insinuated disavowing the validity of the so-called Northern Limit Line (NLL) which serves as the maritime demarcation line for the two Koreas.

The search through the National Archives of Korea, which keep designated presidential records, has been ongoing since Monday.

"The lawmakers conducted two preliminary searches so far, but they have not been able to confirm the existence of the records," one source said. "We do not know yet whether they simply were unable to find them, or whether the records exist at all."

Officials at the archives said they have no way of knowing if the wanted material had been stored.

"We do not have the authorization to look at presidential records, so we do not know whether the dialogue transcripts exist," an archive official said.

The lawmakers reported the situation to the parliamentary steering committee and to respective parties, who need to decide whether to continue or end the search, sources said.

Legislative affairs were paralyzed for weeks by a partisan feud after the ruling party accused the late Roh, elected from the opposition bloc, of undermining the country's sovereignty by relenting on the NLL. North Korea has insisted that the line be redrawn lower to the southern side.

The opposition believes the rival party is using the issue to deflect attention from another controversy about suspected political activities by the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

The NIS had released its own records of the summit conversation on the NLL, but the parties decided to review the material on their own to try and end the controversy.

Analysts worry that the situation could spawn another controversy over why the records are missing and who is responsible. (Yonhap News)