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Sons' woes leave him 'wretched,' Kim says

July 16,2002
Never in his life has he felt so "wretched" as now, with two of his sons in legal trouble, President Kim Dae-jung said Monday at a Blue House luncheon with reporters.

When he was opposition leader, Mr. Kim said, "I suffered pain, but my conscience was clear." He apologized again to the people. The two sons, Kim Hong-up and Kim Hong-gul, have been indicted on corruption charges.

"I have never felt so wretched in my life as nowadays," President Kim said. "The regret I feel toward the people goes beyond expression."

He said he had not been informed of his sons' activities before they became public, and resolved to come up with concrete measures to apply to cases of corruption involving blood relatives of officials. The president said he expected his children to be dealt with strictly under the law.

President Kim expressed his regrets about several questions that have arisen concerning the new acting prime minister, Chang Sang. He said they should be addressed at the parliamentary hearing scheduled for the end of this month. "I played a leading part in the nomination of Ms. Chang, and I expect the National Assembly will approve her," he said.

Asked if the Kim Dae-jung Peace Foundation would be dissolved, Mr. Kim said that he would discuss with the board of directors an overhaul and a new start for the foundation, which was mired in a recent series of scandals involving his second son. "I will not become a board member or interfere in any operations," he said.

The president that the recent naval skirmish in the Yellow Sea poses a problem whether or not it was ordered by the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il.

"If Mr. Kim ordered the attack, it is a violation of the North-South Joint Statement at the June 15 summit, which is a serious problem," Mr. Kim said. "It is dangerous if he didn't initiate the attack, since it means that North Korea is not under control and that some forces could provoke an attack any time that could spread to war."

by Chun Young-gi




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