&#91EDITORIALS&#93Don't bury the scandal

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&#91EDITORIALS&#93Don't bury the scandal

Both the outgoing and incoming governments appear to have a good idea about how to tackle the cash-for-summit allegations in the National Assembly. From what the Blue House chief of staff Park Jie-won, Millennium Democrats and key officials with the president-elect's transition team are saying, there appears to be a consensus that President Kim Dae-jung and key officials should offer an explanation and an apology and put the case to rest.

That is a completely unprincipled compromise, and it is unacceptable.

The key question is whether the transaction was indeed within the realm of the president's "administrative authority." Mr. Kim has said it was, but his chief of staff, Mr. Park, has tried to characterize it as a Hyundai effort to woo North Korea, in effect saying the administration was not directly involved.

If Mr. Park is right and President Kim is wrong, there is also the question of why so many government agencies -- the Blue House, the National Intelligence Service and the Korea Development Bank -- worked so hard and so illegally for a private company's interests. What future collaboration could there be between the government and a private firm in the guise of "administrative authority?"

The MDP says an independent counsel's investigation could reveal government secrets and hurt national security. Basically, this means the party has no intention to get to the bottom of the matter but every intention of shielding this administration's illegalities. Who could believe the sincerity of its offer of the "real facts" and apologies, when factual details about when and how are slow in emerging?

The president and the people who were involved in the transaction must reveal the facts. And the facts must be verified.

A political compromise must be ruled out if for no other reasons than to forestall future illegalities and set a better tone for relations between the two Koreas. The MDP must stop claiming ignorance and agree to naming an independent counsel. That is the only way it can assist the new administration in setting up a framework for real reform in our government and society.
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