&#91EDITORIALS&#93The 400 billion won haunting

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[EDITORIALS]The 400 billion won haunting

Moon Hee-sang, the Blue House chief-of-staff-designate, has suggested that President Kim Dae-jung's administration should deal with clouds of questions about 400 billion won ($330 million) said to have made its way to North Korea. It is an appropriate idea. Mr. Moon wants President Kim to dissolve any suspicions so that the issue does not burden President-elect Roh Moo-hyun's administration. That shows how politically explosive the mystery of the 400 billion won might be.

Public ears were riveted by Mr. Moon's comment that "If there are any suspicions, the president and the Blue House would know of it." If a key aide to the president-elect goes so far as to say so publicly, we the public believe that the suspicions should be looked into.

Disclosure of the 400 billion won loan from the Korea Development Bank to Hyundai Merchant Marine shook the nation during the December presidential election. At that time, the Blue House ignored calls to look into the allegations, saying they were far from true. Nowadays, the public cannot but be irritated that the Blue House appears complacent that the election of the Millennium Democratic Party candidate to the Blue House means foreclosure of further inquiry.

There is a problem with Mr. Moon's observation that "A chief executive's act should be glossed over for the national good." The mystery of the 400 billion won has gone beyond legal transgression. The Kim administration has revealed impudence and a low morality by blocking the tracking of financial accounts to trace the money. The dispute over who is lying has wounded the integrity and sense of justice of the Korean people. For the future of inter-Korean relations, suspicions should be cleared up, and to heighten transparency in inter-Korean relations the government should address the allegations of illegal and perverted exchanges between the two Koreas.

The suspicion that it took a behind-the-scenes money deal to open a new chapter in inter-Korean relations is the biggest unresolved mystery of President Kim's tenure. It should top the new administration's agenda. The president would do well to help the president-elect who has said that he would pursue his predecessor's "sunshine policy."
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