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Controversy Over Ahn Sang-soo’s “Backstage Deal With the North”

Controversy Over Ahn Sang-soo’s “Backstage Deal With the North”

Posted June. 06, 2005 06:22,   


It was found out that Ahn Sang-soo, the mayor of Incheon Metropolitan City (IMC), promised 3.9 billion won in monetary help to North Korea without conditions when he recently visited North Korea to make an agreement on six issues, including co-hosting the 2014 Asian Games with Pyongyang.

According to executives of the IMC and members of the Incheon Metropolitan Council, who had been to the North with Ahn from May 30 to June 2, Mayor Ahn negotiated with the North to make a promise to provide building materials for paving work (equivalent to 3.9 billion won) for free.

Regarding this, an official from the North-visiting delegation said, “As North Korea promised to send about 200 athletics and rooters to the Asian Athletics Championship which will be held in Incheon from September 1 to 4, we can expect 10 billion won of income, including advertising revenue.” He also added “The building materials the IMC will offer are a kind of ‘promissory note’ that will be paid out of the income as well as the official budget.”

Mayor Ahn made clear the outcome of visiting the North at a news conference on June 2, saying, “I expect nothing in return from the North,” adding, “The monetary help to the North won’t be offered until the government and the municipal authority approve it within the budget limit.”

With respect to Ahn’s remark, an official close to Ahn said, “We can’t reveal any other matters except for the agreements made between the two sides,” adding, “Monetary support will be inevitable to co-host the Asian Games.”

On June 5, Mayor Ahn held a news conference at the headquarters of the Grand National Party in Yeomchang-dong, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, and he made additional outcome from the visit to the North, saying, “We agreed to buy blue crabs the North caught in the West Sea.” He also revealed “we reached an agreement with the North on introducing a branch of the North’s famous restaurant, Okryugwan, into our city.”

Hee-Jae Park min07@donga.com