중앙데일리

Official May Sue Over Statement

June 18,2001
Han Wan-sang, the deputy prime minister for education, denied again Monday that he sought to visit the grave site of Kim Il-sung, the late North Korean leader, during a trip to Pyongyang last year.

Mr. Han indicated he may go to court over the statement, which was made by Lee Jong-chan, former director general of the National Intelligence Service.

Speaking at a press conference, Mr. Han said, "Some members of the delegation wanted to visit the grave, but I dissuaded them because I thought it would hamper the improving relations between the two Koreas and exacerbate ideological confrontation within South Korea."

The former president of Sangji University in Wonju, Mr. Han led a 42-member delegation to Pyongyang in connection with last year's 55th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean Workers' Party.

The Reverend Hong Geun-su of Hyangrin Presbyterian Church and two other members of the delegation confirmed the veracity of his statement during the news conference.

Mr. Han said Mr. Lee phoned him from the Netherlands Monday to apologize for having misinterpreted the event.

Mr. Lee said in an interview in the Monthly JoongAng magazine that Mr. Han had wanted to visit the late North Korean leader's grave. The interview is scheduled to appear in the magazine's July issue.

Mr. Han added he was unhappy that the magazine printed Mr. Lee's remarks without first confirming them with him.

"The incident is too serious to pass with a mere apology," he said.



by Kang Hong-jun




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