The 2007 inter-Korean summit transcript was deleted from the Roh Moo-hyun administration’s presidential record system before data was transferred to the National Archives, the prosecutors’ office announced Wednesday.
According to the prosecution, which has been investigating the case since late July, the document was not categorized as a presidential record and deleted from the e-Jiwon system. The e-Jiwon system was the archive system used during the Roh administration.
The investigators said that they found evidence of the document being deleted from the e-Jiwon system at late former President Roh Moo-hyun’s retirement home in Bongha, South Gyeongsang Province.
The probe, however, also discovered a transcript of the summit meeting in Bongha.
“It is different from the version deleted (from e-Jiwon) but its contents are the same as that of the National Intelligence Service’s record,” the prosecution said. The NIS has held a copy of the transcript since Roh’s term, and revealed excerpts from the document to a number of Saenuri Party lawmakers in June. In response, the DP has filed criminal complaints against the concerned Saenuri Party legislators and NIS chief Nam Jae-joon.
“Ultimately, the transcript has been found. It has been verified that there was a draft that was deleted, and a complete version has been found in the Bongha e-Jiwon.”
The investigators now plan to focus on finding out why the transcript was not categorized as a presidential record and how it came to be deleted. According to reports, the prosecution plans to summon about 30 individuals who were involved in producing and archiving presidential records during the Roh administration, and expects this part of the investigation to be concluded by mid-October.
The transcript of the summit was found to be missing earlier this year, when lawmakers of the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic Party searched for the record in an attempt to verify allegations against Roh.
In the run up to last year’s presidential election, Saenuri Party lawmakers alleged that Roh conceded the Northern Limit Line to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. The Northern Limit Line, or NLL, is the de facto maritime border between the two Koreas in the West Sea, and the allegation was used against the DP’s then presidential candidate Rep. Moon Jae-in, one of Roh’s closest aides.
The results of the investigation have prompted the ruling party to renew the attack against the DP over the issue, and called on the prosecution to conduct a thorough investigation into Roh administration officials.
“Roh administration officials, particularly Moon who called for the transcript to be viewed must explain and apologize or take responsibility for any actions that require such measures,” Saenuri Party floor spokesperson Rep. Kang Eun-hee said.
She added that concerned individuals must await judgment for their part in “making a mockery of the public.”
As for the presidential office, it commented simply that disappearance of presidential records was an incident that “shakes the fundamentals of the country” and that it will closely follow the ongoing investigation.
The Roh Moo-hyun Foundation, meanwhile, hit back, saying that the investigation proves the existence of the transcript. It said claims about the Roh administration hiding the summit records had become groundless, and that deleting a draft once the final version has been completed was a matter of course.
By Choi He-suk