|2007년 10월 4일 당시 노무현 대통령(왼쪽)과 김정일 북한 국방위원장이 평양 백화원 영빈관에서 남북공동선언문에 서명한 뒤 취재진 앞에서 서로 손을 맞잡아 들어올리고 있다. [중앙포토]|
Prosecutors yesterday dropped a defamation case against lawmaker Chung Moon-hun of the Saenuri Party over his claim that former President Roh Moo-hyun disavowed the de facto maritime border with North Korea at a summit in Pyongyang in 2007, basically confirming the representative’s bombshell revelation.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday stated it is “hard to refute the claim that former President Roh Moo-hyun disavowed the NLL [Northern Limit Line] during the 2007 South-North Summit,” indirectly confirming that Roh made the remarks in a secret meeting with then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, as Chung asserted in October.
The prosecutors did not directly confirm the remarks or quote from a transcript of the meeting, saying it is classified information.
The prosecutors also dropped charges of spreading groundless rumors against Saenuri lawmaker Lee Cheol-woo and Park Sun-kyoo, a journalist-turned-Saenuri member who is now spokesman for the presidential transition team.
The legal dispute began when Chung and other ruling Saenuri Party lawmakers first raised allegations that Roh, a liberal president, told the North’s leader that Seoul would not insist on the Yellow Sea border, called the Northern Limit Line, which Pyongyang refuses to recognize as a legitimate maritime border.
The main opposition Democratic United Party, a descendent of Roh’s Uri Party, refuted the claims, saying no such remarks were made. The liberal party then lodged complaints against lawmakers Chung, Lee and Park for spreading lies with the aim of trying to affect the presidential election in December. In response, Chung raised counterclaims against former DUP Chairman Lee Hae-chan. The charge against Lee was also dropped.
“As Lee was told by then-Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung and Kim Man-bok, former chief of the National Intelligence Service, [both of whom accompanied Roh to the summit], that Roh did not make such remarks, we can’t hold Lee accountable for false accusation,” said the prosecution.
The authorities also dropped charges against Chun Yung-woo, presidential security secretary, for saying he had read the transcript in violation of the president records management law.
By Kang Jin-kyu [firstname.lastname@example.org]