중앙데일리

LKP says ex-DP rep. also leaked conversation

May 27,2019
The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) fired back at the ruling Democratic Party (DP) over the controversy surrounding a phone leak between the presidents of South Korea and the United States, claiming a former DP lawmaker also leaked a phone conversation between the two presidents in January last year on national television.

The former DP lawmaker in question - Jung Chung-rae - denied the accusation on Sunday, saying he received the information from a Blue House statement that was already made public.

It was the latest tit-for-tat between the LKP and the DP over a press conference held by LKP Rep. Khang Hyo-shang at the National Assembly on May 9. Khang revealed a description of South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump’s phone conversation from May 7, including parts that weren’t revealed by either country’s presidential office.

During the press conference, Khang didn’t explain his source or how he got hold of the transcripts of the Moon-Trump phone call, but said Moon insisted that Trump visit South Korea in late May, even after the U.S. government had already sent a signal to the South that Trump had no plans to visit South Korea anytime in the near future. According to Khang, Moon tried to persuade Trump that Koreans desired his visit, and that his visit was necessary to send a message to the North. Trump, at one point, replied that Moon’s proposal was “interesting,” and that he’d ask his national security adviser, John Bolton, to review a possible visit.

After the phone call took place and before Khang’s press conference, the Blue House only revealed that both leaders agreed to consult closely with each other on ways for Trump to visit Korea in the near future.

The Blue House has since tried to track down who leaked the transcripts to Khang. Last Friday, the DP filed a complaint with prosecutors, asking them to charge the LKP lawmaker with collecting and leaking confidential diplomatic information to the public.

The LKP fired back on Friday, saying former DP Rep. Jung boasted that he obtained the recording of a telephone call between Moon and Trump during a news talk show program on MBN in January 2018 and revealed in detail what the two leaders talked about. The conservative party said the DP should look back at its own actions and called on the ruling party and the Blue House to give an explanation.

Jung wasn’t a DP lawmaker in January 2018 when he appeared on MBN, but he was head of the party’s special committee on house debts. When he was on the show, Jung said he received the “entire raw data” of the phone call made on Jan. 4 between Trump and Moon, without specifying whether he heard the video recording or read the transcripts. Jung’s comments had already been revealed by the Blue House, including how Moon thanked Trump for bringing the North to the discussion table.

On Sunday, Jung wrote on Facebook that he received the quotes from the Blue House website and that he had no idea about any part of the conversation that wasn’t revealed by the presidential office. On why he used the term “raw data,” Jung said it was his “taste, humor and cultural curiosity” to use “a bit of spices” on news talk shows.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]


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