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Why Song Du-yul Submitted Documented Promise?

Posted September. 28, 2003 22:57,   


Korea-German professor Song Du-yul was known to have submitted documented promise to abide by the Korean law to the National Intelligence Service (NIS) Sunday.

Previously, Song gave up visiting Korea to attend a ceremony held in memory of the democratization movement in Gwangju, as the NIS requested him to submit a written promise to take note of the Korean law.

In October last year, he said that he would never write down such a document, as he was not permitted to come to Korea when he attempted to attend an international academic conference.

“It is obvious that the document included reflections on my past that I had ignored the law, and I haven`t broken the law and I have nothing to regret,” he said in a press conference. “I will never submit such a piece of paper,” he insisted.

Now some in and outside the NIS and the Prosecution say that if such a stubborn man turned in the document to abide by the Korean law, there can be some urgent situations around him.

“When Prof. Song came to Korea, he trusted the government. But during the investigation, the NIS might have not been able to guarantee a favor to him, and that`s why some sort of measure was needed,” said a prosecution official.

In fact, as the NIS investigation continues, Song seemed to have stepped back. At the initial stage of the investigation, he denied all the allegations. As of Sept.28 after four times of probe, he even admitted that he had visited North Korea as Kim Chul-soo at the North`s invitation.

Accordingly, there are many of those who view that Song compromised in order to avoid criminal punishment as most of the allegations were confirmed.

In addition, some lawyers point out the possibility of making a compromise among Song, the government, and the NIS. All the related parties, however, are denying the possibility.

“Although the NIS said they did not ask him first to submit it, they were unclear about the reasons why he did it,” said Kim Hyoung-tae, a lawyer.

Nevertheless, the promise made be Prof. Song to abide by the Korean law is expected to have a considerable effect on the future process of the NIS.

“All the mistakes that he made in the past cannot be forgiven with his promise to follow the law. But at least it gives the Prosecution an opportunity to help him,” said a senior official of the Prosecution.

Tae-Hoon Lee jefflee@donga.com