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Senior NIS Official Met North’s Senior Official

Posted April. 02, 2007 08:05,   


Suh Hoon (53), who is in charge of North Korean strategies and intelligence at the National Intelligence Service, was found to have met Ri Ho Nam (54), a councilor of the North’s National Economic Cooperation Federation, during his visit to Dangdong, China from November 19 to November 23 last year.

Ahead of the meeting, Ri secretly met with President Roh’s confidants, such as Ahn Hee-jeong and Rep. Lee Hwa-young of the Uri Party, on October 20 in Beijing to discuss ways to exchange special envoys in an effort to arrange an inter-Korean summit.

When recently asked by a Dong-a Ilbo reporter if the NIS was negative about the secret contact, Lee replied, “Yes. And Suh also met Ri Ho Nam in Dandong.”

Analysts believe that Suh, who was the head of the NIS North Korean strategies department at that time, met Ri to restore the official channel of dialogue with Pyongyang.

Gwon O-hong (47), a businessman who planned Ahn’s contact in Beijing, also wrote in his memorandum, “When I met Rep. Lee Hwa-young on November 21 at the Lotte Hotel in Sogong-dong, Seoul, he called Lee Ho-cheol, the presidential secretary for information and state affairs monitoring, and asked if Suh has returned to Korea, and when was said no, when he would return.”

According to the memorandum, there was no significant progress made between Suh and Ri. “When Suh comes, tell him I have nothig to say or hear, so go back as soon as possible and save hotel fees,” Ri was quoted as saying in the memorandum.

The NIS has been claiming that they had nothing to do with the contact between Ahn and Lee. “I did not receive any report and I am not aware of it,” said Kim Seung-kyu, the former chief of the NIS.

Meanwhile, the spokesman of the NIS said, “Suh claims that it is impossible (that he met Ri) and that he has never met Ri.”

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