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Lawmakers Are Critical of Ahn Hee-jeong’s Contact with North Korea

Lawmakers Are Critical of Ahn Hee-jeong’s Contact with North Korea

Posted April. 10, 2007 09:12,   


On April 9, during an interpellation session at the National Assembly, Grand National Party lawmakers blamed the government for its policies toward North Korea by mentioning President Roh’s aide Ahn Hee-jeong, who secretly contacted the North, and negotiations for a possible inter-Korean summit meeting which the administration has secretly planned for.

Rep. Kim Jae-won said, “Although the government had stressed transparency in its North Korea policy, in a memorandum written by Gwon Oh-hong, who arranged Ahn’s contact with the North, President Roh sent a confidential letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, through actor Moon Seong-geun, who visited North Korea in November 2003.” Kim has requested the contents of the letter be made available to the public.

Furthermore, Rep. Kim has called for an investigation, saying that, “There have been suspicions that some biodiesel businessmen financed Pyongyang through the Korea Bang Jeong-hwan Foundation in which Uri Party legislator Lee Hwa-yeong served as director general.

He said, “Even though Ahn is the one who violated the Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Law by meeting North Korean councilor Lee Ho Nam without permission from the unification minister and without reporting to the ministry of unification, the unification ministry raised questions about Mr. Gwon.”

With respect to former Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan’s visit to the North in March, lawmaker Kim Hee-jeong pointed out, “Though he had visited North Korea as head of the Uri Party’s Northeast Asia Peace Committee, he had a discussion with the North not at a party level but at a government-representative level, and if that is so, he violated Article 17 of the Law on the Development of South-North Relations, which bans acts on behalf of administrations.”

Rep. Kim Hee-jeong argued that, “For Ahn’s contact with the North, the government itself is damaging its principal goals toward North Korea which the administration has publicly claimed it will push, along with open and transparent procedures. In this regard, both the South and North Korean governments might be running secret channels for negotiation.”

Rep. Gwon Gyeong-seok said, “Mr. Ahn secretly met North Korean officials in order to discuss a possible inter-Korean summit under President Roh’s direction, and the National Intelligence Service and the Ministry of Unification aided and permitted the violation.”

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said, “As long as I know, Mr. Ahn consulted with the unification minister about the meeting even though there were no documents about the consultation. However, we will take proper measures against alleged violation if it turns out the act had violated the related laws.”

But Mr. Han said, “In case of a violation against the Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Law, it will only impose a fine worth about less than three million won, and the violation cannot be regarded as a huge crime since it just a violation against social order.”

Regarding the president’s confidential letter to the North, he said he would try to find out more facts about the letter, and with respect to a question about financial aid from biodiesel businessmen through the Korea Bang Jeong-hwan Foundation, he said, “There is nothing I can confirm regarding this matter.”