[EDITORIALS]Military's role unclear

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[EDITORIALS]Military's role unclear

The Munhwa Ilbo, a Seoul evening paper, on Tuesday reported that it has acquired a list of 88 leading figures and the names of their sons who have evaded military service.

The report has raised people's curiosity; the military prosecutors' investigation of draft dodging has been controversial due to the connections that have been made with Grand National Party presidential candidate Lee Hoi-chang's son.

It is strange that the investigation's results, denied by military authorities, could come out. In order to clear up the mystery surrounding the case, we should clarify the meaning of the investigation's results.

If the military prosecutors' probe is made available, then the credibility of Kim Dae-eop's recorded tape will be verified. Mr. Kim's recording indicates that he acquired materials about Mr. Lee's son, Jeong-yeon, when he was interrogating Kim Do-sul in 1999.

The transcript of the recording reads: "Then, it is written that the amount related to Jeong-yeon is between 18 million won ($15,000) and 20 million won...." "[And,] in the place for an introducer's name, it is written a Military Manpower Administration official."

The Grand National Party has retorted that the tape "is either a fabrication or the outcome of a clandestine operation." Those who took part in the investigation agree that Kim Dae-eop interrogated Kim Do-sul, but they disagree whether there was a review of Jeong-yeon.

The Ministry of National Defense rejected the Munhwa Ilbo report saying it "prepared material on 55 important persons' sons in March 1999. But Mr. Lee's sons were not included."

Many questions are raised by Kim Dae-eop's collaboration with military prosecutors as a "civilian investigator."

If military authorities investigated Jeong-yeon's alleged evasion of military service, then it is questionable why they acted on a case after the indictment period had passed.

Military prosecutors should clarify what happened during their probe and present the investigation's results -- if there are any. This is how it can help the prosecutors.
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