Go to contents

Standoff over Secret Transfer to N.K. Continues

Posted February. 06, 2003 22:27,   


The standoff over the secret transfer of 223.5 billion won to North Korea among Cheong Wa Dae, President-elect Roh Moo-hyun and the opposition Grand National Party (GNP) has continued on Feb. 6.

Mr. Roh is reported to be seeking ways to bring the case to an end after President Kim`s aides testify in a closed parliamentary hearing and the ruling and opposition parties reach agreement.

The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae is maintaining its hard stance not to disclose the truth surrounding the transfer while presidential chief of staff Park Ji-won and presidential special advisor Im Dong-won are said to consider testifying in a closed parliamentary session.

However, the GNP has repeatedly urged President Kim`s personal explanation and an independent counsel`s investigation.

At a plenary session of his transition team that day, the President-elect said, "Both the National Assembly and Cheong Wa Dae should make concessions and the Assembly should bring the case to an end by making a decision as early as possible."

Meeting with reporters, Moon Hee-sang, Roh`s chief of staff-designate, said that President Kim`s remarks the day before could be interpreted conversely as his allowing for testifying in a close session and meaning it will be done by his aides. He added that then the president`s explanation could follow.

"Considering the rising public suspicion, either the president or other parties concerned should frankly explain the issue in detail," Rep. Kim Won-ki of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP), who is also a political advisor to the president-elect.

Appearing on a current event program Lim Che-jung, head of the presidential transition team, called for an explanation from Cheong Wa Dae, saying " The president should acknowledge his mistake in finding proper ways."

However, presidential press secretary Park Sun-sook said, "The president`s remarks yesterday mean that dealing with this issue in public is not good. Consultation is underway at the National Assembly, so we wait and see."

Meanwhile, GNP secretary general Kim Young-il said, "Before public anger explodes, President Kim ought to explain all the facts and wait for the public`s judgment.

Jong-Koo Yoon jkmas@donga.com