[EDITORIALS]Transfer the official papersThe lists of confidential documents among public records at the Blue House are not presented to the government archives in a timely fashion. Some concerned academics have started collecting signatures to demand transparency in the power transfer. The law states that the presidential secretariat shall present all written public records kept at the Blue House 40 days, or on January 15, before the inauguration of the incoming president. However, it has not handed over the list of confidential papers.
In mid-January, the Blue House proclaimed that it would hand over as many as 180,000 items of public records to the archives, a huge number compared with papers of previous presidents. It was interpreted as an expression that the outgoing government has confidence in the transparency of its policy implementation. However, the Blue House has failed to hand over the document list even after the deadline. Now that suspicion over cash payments to North Korea is looming, there are people who suspect hidden intentions behind the delay.
There can be procedural difficulties since this is the first attempt to hand over documents. It is difficult to understand, however, that the National Intelligence Service is examining whether the transfer of documents is against the agency's internal rule on confidentiality. It would not be right if the papers were not handed over due to a ruling that it is against the agency's internal rule, which comes under the law on public records. Power transition starts with transfer of records and ends with it. That is why in some foreign countries archivists are in the forefront of the transition team and they even search trash bins in the presidential office. If the Blue House refuses to hand over its records on the grounds that the transfer is in conflict with the NIS regulations, it would contradict the "People's Government," which enacted the Act on the Management of Archives by Public Agencies in 1999.
What is best is sticking to the principles and keeping transparency. If the Blue House transfers confidential records transparently, it will get proper evaluation in history.