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Roh Moo-hyun`s Camp Calls For President Kim`s Explanation Within the Week.

Roh Moo-hyun`s Camp Calls For President Kim`s Explanation Within the Week.

Posted February. 10, 2003 22:32,   


Close aides to the president-elect Roh Moo-hyun on Feb.10 strongly urged with one voice President Kim Dae-jung to give a personal explanation about the secret money transfer to North Korea.

However, political confrontations surrounding the scandal are deepening, as the main opposition Grand National Party (GNP) is firmly maintaining its position that president Kim`s explanation and the appointment of an independent counsel are different matters, along with Chung Wa Dae continuously rejecting demands for president Kim`s public explanation.

In addition, the GNP, on the same day, turned down a proposal made by some figures within the ruling camp. The proposal included allowing the prosecution to launch a probe into the case, in return for giving up the appointment of the special counsel.

Yoo In-tae, president-elect Roh`s senior secretary for political affairs, said at a meeting with reporters, “I am concerned about the current situation in which the public opinion wants the appointment of an independent counsel, but Chung Wa Dae has strongly opposed the demand, citing unveiling all the truths about the secret payment to the North does not benefit national interests as reasons,” and added on the premise of his own personal opinion, “President Kim should take a step to clear up the public suspicion within the week.”

Kim Won-gi, president-elect Roh`s political advisor, suggested in radio interviews with KBS and SBS, two major broadcasting networks in Korea, “President Kim`s testimony before the National Assembly, if necessary, can be a solution to end the current political standoff.”

“It might be desirable that first, the National Assembly should hear testimonies from relevant figures and form a special parliamentary commission to shed light into the secret payment. And then, according to the outcome of the parliamentary inquiry and a political agreement between the ruling and the opposition parties, an independent counsel or the prosecution should launch an investigation into the case,” suggesting first seeking a political settlement to the case and launching an investigation later.

When asked about the possibility of imposing a legal punishment onto President Kim, the president-elect political advisor said, “In principle, if he is found of violating the current law governing the inter-Korean relations, he will be punished.” However, he voluntarily held a press conference later and explained, “It might be inappropriate to talk about the imposition of legal punishment on President Kim at a moment when the political circle is discussing ways to address the secret money transfer and a probe into the case is not launched yet.”

Kim Sang-hyun, a close confident to the president-elect, also urged, “President Kim should come clean about the secret cash payment to the North during his term of office, which ends Feb.25, and if he is found of having made any mistakes politically or morally, he should offer a public apology for those mistakes. And after that, the ruling and the opposition parties should discuss how to address the issue.”

However, a high-raking official at Chung Wa Dae expressed its firm opposition to demands for president Kim`s explanation to the public by saying, “There is nothing the President can further talk about the issue.”

Meanwhile, the GNP, for its part, decided to unilaterally convene a parliament judiciary committee, pass a pending bill calling for the appointment of an independent counsel and act on the bill at a plenary session in the National Assembly slated for Feb. 17.

GNP spokesman Park Jong-hee maintained, “President Kim`s explanation is only an apology for his political mistake to the public, therefore, to bring light to all the truth about the secret payment, the appointment of a special counsel is necessary.

The main opposition party has submitted a petition calling for a ban on leading figures behind the secret cash transfer to the North, including Park Ji-won, President Kim`s Chief of Staff, Lim Dong-won, presidential advisor for foreign relations, unification and national security, Kim Boo-hyun, a director of the National Intelligence Service, Han Kwang-ok, a member of the MDP Supreme Counsel, Chung Momg-hun, chairman of Hyundai Asan, and Rhee In-chi, former chairman of Hyundai Securities, from leaving the country to the Seoul District Prosecutor`s Office