Democratic Party Chairman Kim Han-gil speaks during a general meeting of party lawmakers at the National Assembly in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap News)
The main opposition Democratic Party on Thursday urged President Park Geun-hye to apologize over allegations that her ruling Saenuri Party had received the transcript of the 2007 inter-Korean summit from the National Intelligence Agency last year while it was still classified.
“(Park) should apologize to the public as soon as she returns (from China) for the Saenuri Party’s political maneuvers during the presidential election,” DP Chairman Rep. Kim Han-gil said during a general meeting of party lawmakers.
Kim also demanded Park reveal the full account of “manipulative maneuvers” conducted by the ruling party and the spy agency, and punish those involved.
On Wednesday, DP lawmaker Park Beom-kye claimed Kwon Young-se, Seoul’s ambassador to Beijing, said the Saenuri Party was contemplating the disclosure of the summit minutes on Dec. 10, nine days before the presidential election.
“We have to talk about the NLL (Northern Limit Line). There is an NLL transcript,” Kwon, then-lawmaker of the Saenuri Party, was quoted as saying in a recording provided by Park. “Getting the document is not a problem, but there is a risk of side effects. It’s literally a contingency plan.”
If Park’s allegation is true, it would mean the Saenuri Party had obtained the document months before it was declassified by the NIS on Monday.
Rep. Moon Jae-in of the DP bashed the Saenuri Party later in the day, saying that “to wait for the right moment for disclosure is not (the actions of) a normal country.” He added that as a principle, important diplomatic files should not to be disclosed for at least 30 years.
The Saenuri Party, however, said that the recorded voice was not clear and therefore could not be identified as Kwon’s.
The recent disclosure of the document touched off a political row between the ruling and the opposition parties. The former argued then-president Roh Moo-hyun effectively gave up the country’s de facto sea border while the latter insisted there was no proof of him doing so.
North Korea on Thursday condemned the South for unilaterally releasing the transcript, saying the action marked “mockery of the dignity of its supreme leadership and a grave provocation to a dialogue partner.”
By Yoon Min-sik