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[Editorial] Decision to Question Kim DJ Should Be Left Up to Independent Counsel

[Editorial] Decision to Question Kim DJ Should Be Left Up to Independent Counsel

Posted June. 17, 2003 21:45,   


As Park Ji-won, the chief presidential secretary of former president Kim Dae-jung (DJ), has been summoned in for questioning by independent counsel Song Doo-hwan, only former president Kim Dae-jung remains for questioning regarding the pay-off scandal related to the 2000 inter-Korean summit.

The former president`s stance that what he calls a "sovereign act" should not be subject to legal action and is tantamount to his acknowledgement that as the country`s leader, he made the decision to contact North Korea in order to achieve an inter-Korean summit. Therefore, the summoning of Mr. Kim seems inevitable.

However, politicians have different views over the investigation of the former president, reflecting the public`s divided opinion on the matter. The Presidential Office of Cheong Wa Dae and the ruling Millennium Democratic Party are opposed to the questioning of Mr. Kim while the opposition Grand National Party is criticizing the government and the ruling party for the opposition.

There is one thing to be remembered. Once an independent counsel was appointed to the investigation of the secret transfer of money to the North, the law overrides the views of public and political circles.

If all the facts surrounding the pay-off scandal are revealed, a further investigation may become unnecessary. However, if not, the questioning of former president Kim Dae-jung would most likely occur. If the independent counsel team cannot dispel all suspicions, their previous efforts will most likely go up in smoke. It would also place a burden on the former president as well as Cheong Wa Dae and the ruling party.

In order to root out any conflict and feud in political circles for the past three years and prevent such things from happening in the near future, the former president ought to respect the independent counsel`s wishes. If he does so, he would show what he called a `dignified attitude in the history of Korea.` Also, he should do it to clear up public confusion over suspicions regarding the inter-Korean summit as former president. However, considering the nature of the pay-off scandal and the former president`s old age and physical condition, the special prosecutor`s team should pay him a visit for questioning, rather than summon him like the others.

Anyway, all judgments regarding the investigation into the scandal should be left up to the independent counsel. The same applies to whether to extend the investigation. Political arguments can be regarded in this case as nothing less than noise. If they really want to steer the nation in the right direction, they should pay more attention to the situation after the end of the independent counsel`s investigation than to the investigation itself.