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Moon defends his late boss, attacks prosecution probe

The Democratic Party’s Rep. Moon Jae-in answers questions outside the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office on Wednesday. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)
The Democratic Party’s Rep. Moon Jae-in answers questions outside the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office on Wednesday. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)

Rep. Moon Jae-in of the main opposition Democratic Party on Wednesday appeared for questioning in the probe into irregularities surrounding the transcript of the 2007 inter-Korean summit.

“President Roh Moo-hyun and the Participation Administration clearly defended the NLL. The real issue in the case is illegally using the transcript stored at the National Intelligence Service in the election,” Moon said as he entered the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office.

“The prosecution’s investigation is like grilling the person who reported a crime instead of catching the thief.”

The transcript of the meeting between Roh and late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il became central to the DP-Saenuri Party wrangling in the run up to last year’s presidential election following accusations that Roh conceded the NLL to Pyongyang.

The NLL, or Northern Limit Line, is the de facto maritime border in the West Sea, the validity of which is contested by North Korea.

After months of bickering, the two parties agreed to view the transcript earlier this year, but the document was found to be missing from the National Archives.

It was determined that the document was not transferred to the National Archives rather than deleted. It was also revealed that the copy held by the NIS was largely identical to the revised version that was recovered from the data storage system at Roh’s retirement home in South Gyeongsang Province.

As for the DP, the party attacked the prosecution for summoning Moon raising concerns for a biased investigation.

“It is illogical that (the prosecution) has publicly summoned Moon as if treating a criminal,” DP chairman Rep. Kim Han-gil said. Kim added that Moon’s accounts could just as easily have been obtained in writing as the former presidential candidate was questioned as a witness rather than a suspect.

“If there is even a small intention to embarrass and damage (Moon) as they had done with former President Roh Moo-hyun in the past, the people will not forgive (the prosecution).”

“The prosecution must unearth the truth about the Park Geun-hye camp’s use of the transcript in the campaign, and its leak (to Park’s campaign aides).”

Although the transcript was not where it should have been ― the National Archives ― Rep. Kim Moo-sung and Korean Ambassador to China Kwon Young-se are accused of having had access to the document before the Dec. 19 election. Kim and Kwon served on the president’s election campaign.

As the case, the result of which could be a fatal blow for the main opposition, draws to an end, the minor opposition Unified Progressive Party intensified its protest against the government with its five active lawmakers shaving their heads. The UPP holds six of the 300 parliamentary seats, but Rep. Lee Seok-ki is currently under arrest on charges of plotting a revolt.

The UPP has been protesting the government’s request for the Constitutional Court to review whether it should be disbanded, accusing it of going back to the days of dictatorship.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Justice submitted the request to the Constitutional Court saying that the UPP’s fundamental aims were unconstitutional. The Constitutional Court has 180 days to reach a conclusion, and six of the nine justices need to approve the motion for the party to be dissolved. 

By Choi He-suk

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