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Prosecution to summon Saenuri lawmakers over transcript leak

DP calls for independent probe into allegations of election interference

Democratic Party lawmakers chant slogans protesting the probe into the missing 2007 inter-Korean summit transcript in front of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office in Seoul, Friday. (Yonhap News)
Democratic Party lawmakers chant slogans protesting the probe into the missing 2007 inter-Korean summit transcript in front of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office in Seoul, Friday. (Yonhap News)


Prosecutors plan to question three ruling party lawmakers from next week as part of the high-profile probe into allegations that the transcript of the 2007 inter-Korean summit was illegally leaked last year for electioneering.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said Friday that they would summon Saenuri Reps. Kim Moo-sung, Chung Moo-hun and Suh Sang-kee, who have been accused of illegally gaining access to a copy of the transcript.

The main opposition Democratic Party berated the prosecution over the questioning, arguing that its investigation was biased based on rumors that prosecutors would question the three only on paper, while summoning senior DP lawmakers including former Presidential candidate Moon Jae-in.

Some 50 DP lawmakers including floor leader Jun Byung-hun visited the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office in protest of what they called a politically biased probe into the allegations.

DP leader Kim Han-gil called for a special investigation by an independent counsel into all allegations that government agencies including the National Intelligence Service were mobilized last year to help then-Saenuri presidential candidate Park Geun-hye.

Stepping up its offensive against the ruling party in collaboration with civic groups, the DP also hinted that it could link its demand for a special probe to the parliamentary deliberations on proposed government outlays for next year.

The transcript of the meeting between then-President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korea’s then-leader Kim Jong-il became central to the political wrangling in the run-up to the December election following accusations that Roh renounced the Northern Limit Line as a de facto maritime border.

On the campaign trail in Busan in December, Rep. Kim Moo-sung, who served as a campaign headquarters chief for Park, mentioned that Roh gave up the NLL during the summit with the North Korean leader.

His remarks led to allegations that Park’s campaign machine had access to the transcript prior to the election, presumably to help turn the tide in favor of Park in a tight race against Moon, the former chief of staff to Roh.

Rep. Chung Moon-hun sparked the NLL dispute in October last year amid a heated election campaign, while Rep. Suh Sang-kee was alleged to have illegally read and disclosed part of the presidential document earlier this year.

On Friday, the DP intensified its offensive, calling for a fair probe into the allegations -- a move the Saenuri Party dismissed as a political tactic to undermine the legitimacy of President Park’s leadership.

The DP demanded that all allegations including the NIS’ election interference should be investigated by an independent counsel to ensure fairness and transparency.

“We can’t trust the prosecution anymore. The prosecution was extremely biased and typically political,” Kim said during a meeting with senior party members at the National Assembly.

Yoon Sang-hyun, the Saenuri Party’s vice floor leader, criticized the DP’s call for a special probe as a political tactic.

By Song Sang-ho
(sshluck@heraldcorp.com)

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