The Saenuri Party on Thursday requested the prosecution to investigate opposition lawmaker Moon Jae-in and others they hold responsible for the missing 2007 inter-Korean summit transcript.
The party accused officials from the Roh Moo-hyun and Lee Myung-bak administrations involved in keeping presidential archives of violating the Act on the Management of Presidential Archives.
“Moon Jae-in, who was responsible for overall state affairs as the chief of staff, and the related individuals, Bongha village officials, and those responsible for keeping records under the Roh administration and the Lee Myung-bak administration should be investigated,” the Saenuri Party said in the complaint lodged to the prosecution.
On Monday, the Saenuri Party and Democratic Party lawmakers searching for the transcript of the summit between former President Roh Moo-hyun and late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il concluded that the records had gone missing.
Following the development, the Saenuri Party pressed the claims that the documents were likely to have been erased during the Roh administration or removed in the process of transferring the data to the National Archives.
The DP, on the other hand, continues to push the argument that Roh and his aides had no reason to delete the data, and that the loss occurred during the Lee Myung-bak administration.
The DP responded to Thursday’s development by accusing the Saenuri Party of resorting to a prosecutors’ investigation to hide the NIS’ involvement in last year’s presidential election. Former NIS chief Won Sei-hoon has been indicted on charges of election interference, and the two main parties are currently conducting a parliamentary investigation into the spy agency.
“It is obvious that the Saenuri Party wants to bring in the political prosecution to bring the DP’s former presidential candidate Moon Jae-in to shame. As always, this is the true colors of the Saenuri Party,” DP spokesperson Rep. Bae Jae-jeung said.
“The fact that the Saenuri Party is making the situation out as a crime when the truth has not been verified seems like an admission of wrongdoing during the Lee Myung-bak administration.”
DP chairman Rep. Kim Han-gil, who had called for the two parties to negotiate on the method of “stringent investigation” to uncover the truth of the matter on Wednesday, also criticized the ruling party’s move.
“The truth needs to be revealed, but the truth cannot be predicted. We have been holding back on making claims about the Lee Myung-bak administration (being responsible),” Kim told reporters on Thursday.
While the Saenuri Party raised the stakes, the DP appears to likely to once again become bogged down by factional infighting with some of its members attacking Moon and the pro-Roh faction.
“I think that those who led the issue should practice self-restraint and save their words,” Rep. Kim Young-hwan, a four-term DP lawmaker, said in a radio interview on Thursday. He added that the ruling and opposition parties now needed to work to conclude the situation quickly.
On Tuesday, Moon released a statement saying that the so-called NLL controversy needed to be put to rest, inciting criticism from both sides that he was being irresponsible.
Kim Young-hwan also singled out Moon saying that as he was neither Roh’s chief of staff nor a presidential candidate, he should refrain from words that further exacerbated the issue.
“What ever (Moon) says, it only appears as though he is changing his words. As he has the most responsibility, and he is the person who called for the transcript to be viewed, he should hold back from speaking out.”
He went onto criticize the party’s leaders for failing to put a stop to calls from the “pro-Roh faction, and those with affection for Roh” to view the records.
Rep. Cho Kyoung-tae, a member of the DP supreme council, went a step further calling on Moon to make a public apology.
“The person who stirred up the country with talks of disclosing the transcript and retiring from politics for factional benefits, is now saying that the NLL controversy should be ended,” Cho said. He added that he found Moon’s statement embarrassing and absurd.
“As the man at the center of the wasteful political strife and that brought the party into chaos and crisis, (Moon) should apologize in front of the party members and the public, and take responsibility for his words.”
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org)