[EDITORIALS]Follow the cash trail

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[EDITORIALS]Follow the cash trail

The brawl among the ruling and opposition parties has heated up over the allegation that the government secretly funnelled $400 million to North Korea to bring the inter-Korean summit to reality in 2000. The opposition Grand National Party is beefing up its offensive, adding one more "disclosure" every day.

The ruling Millennium Democratic Party counters that the opposition's claim is a political scheme aimed at the presidential election.

People are confused, and we are concerned that the mudslinging may end up burying the truth, clouding the presidential election and undermining our national strength.

If the truth about the charges is not revealed, the integrity of inter-Korean relations will be damaged. Lingering suspicion will hamper future development. The suspicion can be easily cleared if the Board of Audit and Inspection or the Financial Supervisory Commission confirm the truth. We cannot understand the attitude of the government. The authorities are just looking on with folded arms.

The first suspicion is whether the governor of the Korea Exchange Bank, the main creditor of Hyundai Merchant Marine, did not know that Korea Development Bank extended 490 billion won ($400 million) in loans to Hyundai. It is difficult to believe that Hyundai Merchant, which was in a severe cash shortage, did not use the emergency loan and instead provided 100 billion won to an affiliate.

Those who were at the alleged meeting held at the Blue House disagree on what actually was said, another suspicion to be resolved. The opposition party added one more "disclosure" Saturday: Hyundai allegedly withdrew 400 billion won from three different branches of the Korea Development Bank.

It should not be difficult to find the truth if that enormous amount of money went to one destination at the same time. If the government has done nothing shameful, proving its innocence will be as easy as a simple audit.

The government must have the resolve to find the truth, which is the only way that it can salvage the achievement of its inter-Korean efforts from the current political strife.
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