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[Editorial] Inter-Korean Summit in Exchange for 400 Million Dollars?

[Editorial] Inter-Korean Summit in Exchange for 400 Million Dollars?

Posted September. 26, 2002 22:53,   


The Grand National Party’s allegation that the government gave financial aid of 400 million dollars to North Korea through Hyundai group around the North-South Korea summit meeting held in June 2000 is surprising. If the allegation proves right, the historic 6.15 inter-Korean summit meeting will be concluded to have been a kind of quid pro quo in return for a behind-the-scenes deal with Pyongyang.

The epochal inter-Korean summit is the most remarkable achievement of the Kim Dae-jung government. And his winning of Nobel Peace prize also signifies that the international community acknowledges the change in the inter-Korean relations, including the summit. If the summit proves the result of the backdoor dealing, however, it is really a shame on the pride of the Korean people.

We really wish that the allegation would prove groundless. Now Rep. Eom Ho-sung of the Grand National Party argues that at that time, the Korea Development Bank (KDB) extended a loan of 490 billion won to Hyundai’s shipping unit and the money was given to Pyongyang through Hyndai Asan. In addition, Um Nak-yong, former governor of the KDB is supporting Rep. Eom’s argument in a way, saying, “I heard from the then president of Hyundai Merchant Marine that the government was the debtor of the loan.” Moreover, the fact was confirmed that the then senior presidential economic advisor, the then minister of finance and economy and the then chairman of the Financial Supervisory Commission held a meeting in which the then governor of the KDB made the report about the loan. However, the participants at that meeting keep their lips tight. It is like deceiving the public.

Even the allegation that Hyundai Engineering & Construction, which was in financial trouble at that time, offered 150 million dollars to North Korea is all the more stunning. We could not but raise a question over the soundness of the government and the business if the government had used money of the ailing company for the backdoor dealing with North Korea. We could suspect that the company got into financial trouble because of the money allegedly given to the North.

On this issue, President Kim is also one of the parties to the dealing. The incumbent government and the National Assembly should find out the truth. If necessary, parliamentary inspection should be conducted. Even if the KDB and Hyundai deny the allegations, the fact of the issue should be not hushed up. If the government tries to gloss over the issue, it is tantamount to a crime against the Korean people and Korean history.