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"True or Not" Should Come First Before Controversy over Act of Governing

"True or Not" Should Come First Before Controversy over Act of Governing

Posted February. 11, 2003 22:16,   


With respect to the Kim Dae-jung government’s secret transfer of 223.5 billion dollars to the North, Prime Minister Kim Suk-soo said on Feb. 11, "Whether the case constitutes an act of governing should be determined after the full truth is disclosed."

At an interpellation session for economic affairs in the National Assembly, the prime minister said that since people have suspicions about the case, the truth should be revealed either by prosecutors or by a special prosecutor, and that then whether or not it was part of an act of governing can be decided.

His remarks are a far cry from the position of President Kim Dae-jung, who has been opposed to both prosecutors’ investigation and inquiry of a special prosecutor.

In response to the transition team’s estimate that an additional public fund of about 5 to 10 trillion won is needed, the deputy prime minister and minister of Finance and Economy, Chun Yoon-chul, said, "For new bad debts from this year financial institutions will be charged special insurance premium, so additional public fund is not necessary."

At the session, Rep. Lee Sung-hun of the opposition Grand National Party contended, "Hyundai Engineering and Construction transferred a total of 150 million dollars to 6 accounts at Chinese banks in Hong Kong and Singapore that are owned by Kim Jong-il, chairman of North Korea’s National Defense Commission."

Quoting a senior official with Hyundai Group, Rep. Lee said, "On returning to Seoul from a visit to China, on April 9, 2000, Lee Ik-chi, former chairman of Hyundai Securities ordered Hyundai’s restructuring head Kim Jae-soo to raise money to send to the North. The company remitted 150 million dollars to Pyongyang in a hurry before a South Korean advance party starts for North Korea."

The GNP lawmaker also argued, "Even when the late honorary chairman of Hyundai Group Chung Ju-young visited the North in June 1998 with herds of cows, a huge amount of money was offered to the North. Since 1998 on, Hyundai has sent a total of 2 trillion won to the North.

He also added that presidential chief of staff Park Ji-won met with Song Ho-kyung, vice chairman of North Korea’s Asia Pacific Peace Committee in Beijing, China ahead of the historic inter-Korean summit meeting in 2000 and that they reached agreement on the summit meeting with Chung Mong-hun, Hyundai Asan chairman, attending. According to his saying, the North asked for an investment of 10 billion dollars in North Korea and the South suggested a bargain of decreasing to 1 billion dollars at the meeting.

Sung-Won Park swpark@donga.com