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President Kim Declined to Explain the Secret Payment to North

President Kim Declined to Explain the Secret Payment to North

Posted February. 05, 2003 22:57,   


It is expected that conflicts over the Hyundai Merchant Marine`s secret 223.5 billion won payment to North Korea in the political circle will be aggravated as President Kim Dae-jung made his opposition to the President-elect Roh Moo-hyun`s camp and the ruling and the opposition parties` demands that President Kim should show his vigorous effort to clear up the suspicious payment by offering explanations in person.

President Kim showed his firm position on the issue at a meeting of relevant ministers of unification, foreign relations and national security presided over by the President Feb.5 afternoon by saying, “Taking into account the fact that peace and our nation`s future are at stake and in addition, we are doing business with the North which is legally an antinational entity, unveiling all the details concerning the North is not conducive not only to national interests but also to inter-Korean relations.”

“As shown in the case of the East and West Germany`s unification, there are many things which can not be made public. Now we are engaging in businesses with the North which is an antinational entity stated in the Constitution. Therefore, there are a lot of exceptions which take sometimes precedence over other things and can`t be unveiled to the public,” he also added.

He also reaffirmed his previous position that it is inappropriate to subject the issue to legal actions. He said, “Considering the fact that a South Korean company is doing business with the antinational entity, the North, to secure its exclusive right and which is not a matter within a legal boundary, it is inappropriate to apply the constitution to the issue.”

Meanwhile, Yoo In-tae, senior presidential secretary designate for political affairs stressed the importance of President Kim`s personal explanation to the public over the issue at a meeting with reporters by saying, “President Kim and people concerned should double their efforts to uncover the truth to the public and the opposition parties. It might be much better for the President to say that all the bucks stop here, the President and all other people concerned are only my bearers. It was a choice that I made for the nation.”

He also expressed his unpleasantness to Chung Wa Dae taking a lukewarm action to deal with the issue by saying, “High-raking officials from Chung Wa Dae should have met with the opposition party to offer an apology. It is pity for the President and Chung Wa Dae not to make vigorous efforts to appeal for a sense of patriotism which the opposition GNP cherishes.”

Moon Hee-sang, presidential Chief of Staff designate, echoed the senior presidential secretary designate by saying, “President Kim`s explanation is a kind of a “political settlement.” There is no reason for the President to do so if it is a final step to take in accordance with an agreement between the ruling and the opposition parties. It might be the most idealistic for the President to clear up the suspicions altogether by doing so.” He also pointed, “President Kim`s Chief of Staff Park Ji-won and presidential advisor for unification, foreign relations and national security Lim Dong-won may testify before the National Assembly in relation with the issue. If so, it might be unnecessary to appoint an independent counsel.”

In addition, Han Wha-gab, chairman of the Millennium Democratic Party, who attended a general meeting of the MDP lawmakers, said, “It is one of the ways to address the issue that President Kim offers an public explanation in person if the public want to know, although Chung Wa Dae is in a position to make such a decision.”

Meanwhile, the opposition Grand National Party reached a consensus within the party to push for the appointment of an independent counsel, apart from President Kim`s personal apology. Acting chairman of the GNP Park Hee-tae maintained, “President Kim should testify before the National Assembly to unveil all the truths and offer an apology for deceiving the public. However, the appointment of an independent counsel is necessary because the secret payment to the North obviously constitutes a criminal act.”

Lee Q-tak, the GNP floor leader, also shared the view with the party chairman by saying, “President Kim`s personal explanation is one thing and the appointment of a special counsel is another. The GNP has already submitted a bill calling for the appointment of an independent counsel to the National Assembly and will act on the bill within the month.”