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Spying Chief’s Resignation Forced?

Posted October. 28, 2006 07:06,   


President Roh’s acceptance of Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director Kim Seung-kyu’s offer of resignation seems to be in accordance with his plan to reshuffle the current government’s diplomacy and security lines next week.

A source in Cheong Wa Dae explained that replacing the intelligence chief was made inevitable as replacement of foreign affairs, national defense, and unification heads became a known fact.

However, there are different interpretations of Kim’s resignation at the time when the NIS probe of spying allegations against members of the so-called 386 generation is going to expand.

Voluntary Decision or Forced to Resign? –

According to sources in Cheong Wa Dae, Kim offered to resign to not be a burden in Roh’s plan to shake up diplomacy and security personnel after North Korea’s nuclear test. The NIS said in its report for the press, “The director expressed his desire to resign to not be a burden in the President’s personnel reshuffle.”

A source in the NIS said, “We thought the director would stay. But it seems he offered to resign, as there’s a rumor that spy allegations were made to keep his post.”

Inside Cheong Wa Dae, a dominant opinion before Kim had a meeting with Roh on the afternoon of October 26 was that Kim would remain in office. For that reason, some think Kim was forced to quit.

Some of the opposing party and the government are suspecting that “pressure” was put on Kim in that he expressed his resignation desire right after the allegations were made. According to the Grand National Party’s analysis, there are two possibilities: prominent 386 generation members within the government induced Kim’s resignation in opposition to the allegations; or Kim took the risk himself as he was determined to make the allegation and touch the sensitive part of the ruling party.

Gong Sung-jin, Intelligence Committee member and GNP lawmaker, said, “Nationally, it is a big issue if it is indeed true that 386 generation members in charge of the current administration’s code personnel shook Kim.”

A source in an assessing organ said, “I heard Cheong Wa Dae called the NIS to tell the director to express which course to take.”

However, Cheong Wa Dae denies the rumor and claims it as nonsense, saying, “The on-going investigation is not going to be folded up as the director is replaced.”

Some in the government analyze that Kim’s replacement was due to his inadequate management of intelligence regarding North Korea. Kim was on his foreign tour when North Korea launched a missile in July, and was pressed to take responsibility for his faulty report right after North Korea’s nuclear test on October 9.

Candidates for Intelligence Director –

Who will be selected to succeed Kim has not been revealed yet. Candidates for the spying chief position include National Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung, the NIS official, Kim Man-bok, and Seoul High Prosecutor’s Office Chief Lee Jong-baek. Jeong Hyung-geun, a GNP lawmaker, made it a subject of public discussion in August that Yoon was unofficially nominated for the position.

Yoon has Roh’s confidence as an alumnus of the same high school, while Kim has an edge as an insider and Lee as Roh’s colleague of the 17th Korean Bar Exam. Other candidates counted as third cards are: Kwon Jin-ho, former presidential aide for national security, and Ambassador to China Kim Ha-jung.