Presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in's campaign unveiled former presidential aides' memos Sunday to counter claims that Seoul abstained from a UN vote against North Korea after consulting Pyongyang in 2007 when he served as a top presidential aide.
The documents indicated Seoul had decided not to join the vote on the UN resolution on North Korea's human rights violations in consideration of improving inter-Korean ties, and later notify Pyongyang of the decision.
Rep. Kim Kyung-soo (R), spokesman of presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in, speaks during a news conference at the Democratic Party headquarters on April 23, 2017. (Yonhap)
Moon's spokesman Kim Kyung-soo of the Democratic Party disclosed excerpts from two meetings involving then-President Roh Moo-hyun, presidential aides and top security officials on Nov. 16 and Nov. 18 that year, and the summary of the notification sent on Nov. 19 to North Korea.
The memos show that the decision was made by Roh on Nov. 16 and the notification was made Nov. 19. The vote was held on early Nov. 21.
The first transcript was written by Kim, who served as Roh's aide for speechwriting and documentation, and the second one was from a memo by a security affairs aide.
"These clearly prove the claim that Moon asked North Korea and then decided to abstain is false," Kim said during a news conference.
He called on Moon's rivals and a former foreign minister to stop unfounded allegations about the issue.
But Song Min-soon, then-top diplomat who first raised the allegation in his memoir in October, countered that the decision on Nov. 16 was only provisional and the discussion continued until Nov. 20 just before the vote was conducted the following day.
"On Nov. 20 I proposed to cast a yes vote as proposed by a report from the UN mission. But Chief of Staff Moon said the response from the inter-Korean channel mattered and offered to decide after receiving it," he told Yonhap News.
He said the final decision was made only after Seoul officials got the response from North Korea, which strongly warned against its vote of approval of the UN resolution.
The controversy resurfaced during a presidential debate last week. After Moon flatly denied it again, Song revealed his memo on Friday to back up the claim.
His disclosure offered new munitions to Moon's rivals. They lambasted the liberal Democratic Party candidate for kowtowing to the North and called into question his credentials as a potential commander-in-chief. (Yonhap)