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Nobel Peace Prize lobbying alleged

Posted October. 11, 2000 12:37,   


Rep. Yoo Heung-Soo of the Grand National Party raised a charge of lobbying activity by Korea for the Nobel Peace Prize.

During a plenary session of the National Assembly Committee on Unification and Foreign Relations on Tuesday, Yoo asked Foreign Minister Lee Joung-Binn if the former Norwegian Prime Minister Shell Bonebik had visited Seoul at the invitation of the Asia-Pacific Peace Foundation in August, which was summer vacation time in Europe.

"Is it true that the Norwegian former prime minister was given a separate room in secret at COEX, where the reunions of divided Korean families was underway and was moved to tears to witness the scene of reunion," Yoo said.

He went on to demand that Lee present information on the rumor of the former prime minister having met with President Kim Dae-Jung at the executive mansion here.

Minister Lee replied that he had no knowledge of who, be it the ex-premier or a cabinet member of Norway, had been in Korea because he was in New York at the time, ruling out any official contact with such a visitor.

Following the committee meeting, Yoo made public a statement of the Foreign Ministry that the former Norwegian prime minister had visited Korea for three days as a private citizen at the invitation of the Forum of Democratic Leaders in the Asia-Pacific (FDL-AP), a body spun off from the Asia-Pacific Peace Foundation, and that his schedule was taken care of by the host organization.

On the other hand, the FDL-AP sources said that the Norwegian leader had stopped over in Korea briefly as part of his tour of some Asian countries and that he had nothing to do with the Nobel Prize.

Yoon Young-Chan yyc11@donga.com