Go to contents

Negotiations over Independent Counsel Law Early This Week

Negotiations over Independent Counsel Law Early This Week

Posted March. 23, 2003 22:22,   


The opposition Grand National Party (GNP)’s secretary general, Kim Young-il, and the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP)’s counterpart Lee Sang-soo are expected to hold talks this week to seek a revision of the law governing the special probe in connection with the North Korean payoff scandal. However, as they have different opinions over whether to limit the scope of the probe, the talks are unlikely to go smoothly.

"We are going to contact the opposition party aggressively in order to finish negotiations over the independent counsel law within this week," said the MDP secretary general on Sunday. His GNP counterpart responded, "We are not opposed to negotiations themselves and are willing to talk about three to four issues, but floor leaders had better contact with each other." The two parties plan to finish their negotiations over a revision of the independent counsel law by this month so the revision can pass the National Assembly’s 30-day special session that opens on Monday.

The two parties see eye-to-eye over some issues in which they earlier reached a tentative agreement on March 14. They agreed that the investigation period would be shortened to 100 days; related North Korean officials’ names and their accounts would not be revealed; and those who disclosed secrets related to the special probe would be punished. However, the ruling party is moving to exclude the process in which the money was transferred to the North from the probe, insisting on its original stance. Against this backdrop, the GNP is dismissing the MDP’s stance as a request that ignores the essence of the special probe. In addition, the MDP is asserting that an interim outcome of the probe should not be announced, while the GNP is insisting on the announcement.

Meanwhile, MDP Secretary General Lee Sang-soo said in a radio interview on Sunday, "If an investigation of the former president is necessary, I think it is possible to secure a written testimony from former President Kim Dae-jung." The written testimony will not be a burden to the former president and at the same time, it would meet the public’s right to know.

Sung-Won Park swpark@donga.com