|Former chief security adviser Baek Jong-chun (left) and former security secretary Cho Myung-kyun. (Yonhap News)|
The prosecution on Friday indicted two former aides of late President Roh Moo-hyun, concluding that the 2007 inter-Korean summit transcript was erased deliberately from the presidential data system.
Former chief presidential security advisor Baek Jong-chun and former security sectary Cho Myung-kyun were charged for playing active roles in destroying the transcript under orders from Roh.
The prosecution did not file charges against the Democratic Party’s Rep. Moon Jae-in, who served as Roh’s chief of staff, and other Roh administration officials.
The transcript first became a hot political issue in October when the Saenuri Party’s Rep. Chung Moon-hun claimed that Roh denied the validity of the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea in a meeting with late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
The argument that raged throughout the presidential campaign led to DP and Saenuri Party lawmakers agreeing to view the presidential records. However, the transcript was found to be missing from the National Archives, leading to the prosecutors’ probe.
The investigation located a modified version of the transcript and recovered the draft version which had been deleted from the e-Jiwon system in Bongha.
“(Roh) gave orders for the transcript to be made into a class 1 secret document, and to be kept at the National Intelligence Service, and that the document be deleted from e-Jiwon,” said Lee Jin-han, deputy chief of Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office. The e-Jiwon system is the presidential data storage system used by the Roh Moo-hyun administration and at Roh’s retirement home in Bongha, South Gyeongsang Province.
“Even if the deletion and destruction of the transcript was carried out under the president’s orders, the act of deleting it through an extremely abnormal route is not a small matter.”
He added that the investigators confirmed that both the draft and final transcripts of other summit meeting had been kept as presidential records. Lee also said that the probe confirmed that Cho accessed the e-Jiwon system while it was offline, and uploaded the transcript as an attachment to enable the transcript to be transferred to the e-Jiwon system at Bongha.
The DP refuted the investigation’s results accusing the prosecution of being biased and the ruling Saenuri Party of orchestrating all the related developments.
“The prosecution’s announcement fell squarely within the concerns that a neutral investigation would not be carried out,” the DP’s committee on the issue said. The lawmakers on the committee argued that a draft cannot be a presidential record, and that Roh only ordered for corrections to be made.
“If (Roh) attempted to hide the contents of the transcript, then it should have been sent to the National Archives as a presidential record, instead of sending it to the NIS.”
The Saenuri Party for its part welcomed the prosecution’s findings and again pressed Moon to take responsibility for the matter.
“(Moon) should apologize to the public for creating the chaos by using the transcript for his political ends,” Saenuri Party spokesman Rep. Yoo Il-ho said.
“The courts should pass solemn judgment on the indicted individuals according to the law. Now that the prosecution’s investigation has ended, the ruling and opposition parties should focus on the National Assembly’s function for the people’s livelihoods and the economy.”
By Choi He-suk