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President Roh Moo-hyun Met with GNP Leadership

Posted March. 12, 2003 22:17,   


President Roh Moo-hyun invited the leadership of the opposition Grand National Party (GNP), including its acting chairman Park Hee-tae, to Chung Wa Dae on March 12 and held a luncheon meeting to discuss how to deal with the issue of the secret cash transfer to North Korea. With an investigation into the cash transfer by an independent counsel, the president requested the opposition party leaders to work on a revised independent counsel bill excluding dealings with the North from the investigation through a renegotiation between the ruling and the opposition parties.

However, acting chairman Park Hee-tae turned down the president`s request by saying, “Even if a special counsel launches an investigation into the case, the nature of the investigation may force the independent counsel to limit the scope because it cannot investigate the North side and if the investigation doesn`t delve into dealings with North Korea, it will fail to clear up all the suspicion over the case.”

“In case of an investigation conducted by an special counsel, the investigation cannot but reveal who in the North side is involved in the case and this will bring a negative impact on inter-Korean relations. If all the details of dealings with the North are unveiled, it will ruin North Korea`s trust in South Korea. Therefore, I would like to ask the GNP leadership to agree, by March 14, not to investigate the secret dealings with North Korea and not to file charges against those involved.” the president was quoted as telling the GNP leadership by both sides` spokesmen.

The President also made it clear that he doesn`t have an intention of protecting officials of the former Kim Dae-jung government from being subject to legal action by saying, “I will instruct investigators to conduct a through probe to disclose the full details of the creation of funds remitted to North Korea ahead of the inter-Korean summit in 2000 even by investigating close aides to former President Kim Dae-jung.”

Meanwhile, in the morning of Mar.13, the GNP is planning to convene an emergency supreme council members` meeting presided over by the party acting chairman Rep. Park to discuss pending issues, including a renegotiation concerning the special counsel bill. The ruling Millennium Democratic Party and the GNP are expected to hold a floor leaders` meeting to consult a revised independent counsel bill, considering that the MDP, for its part, is planning to work on a amending bill of which the main point is to exclude the secret dealings with North Korea from a special counsel probe and demand the opposition party for a renegotiation.

With respect to the issue, Yoo In-tae, presidential secretary for political affairs, said, “The GNP seems to want to declare a special counsel bill into a law first and renegotiate a revision of the bill later. The MDP seems to want to work on a revised bill first and then consider whether to exercise the right to veto a bill. It is expected that there will be a compromise between the two parties by Mar. 14, one day before the time limit of exercising a veto right, given that the MDP changed its previous position by deciding not to oppose an investigation by a special counsel into the secret cash transfer to the North.”

Jeong-Hun Kim Jong-Hoon Lee jnghn@donga.com taylor55@donga.com