&#91EDITORIALS&#93All the president's men

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&#91EDITORIALS&#93All the president's men

Shocked is not a word strong enough to describe how we felt to learn of the behind-closed-door dealings between the Hyundai Group and the Kim Dae-jung administration. After the June 15 inter-Korean summit in 2000, Lim Dong-won, the then National Intelligence Service head and now Blue House foreign affairs adviser, reportedly made strong demands to the economic ministers to support the Hyundai Group, saying, "If Hyundai goes down, the road to the North will be cut off." Mr. Lim's remark, if it is true, is evidence that shows why the government poured tens of trillions of won into Hyundai by employing all possible means. Reports about the involvement of Park Jie-won, the Blue House chief secretary, are coming out continuously. And yet the lips of Mr. Lim and Mr. Park are sealed.

An incumbent senior Blue House official said the two men were deeply involved in the backdoor dealings, reflecting the subtle shifting of stances of the Kim government. The two men are arguing that the deal was the practice of "presidential prerogative" and disclosing the truth would worsen inter-Korean relations. The arguments run counter to the people's demands to learn the truth. If the two men did make such remarks, they will surely push the Kim administration to a calamitous exit. There are already about 10 proven charges linked to the deal. How long do the two men think they can hide under the umbrella of presidential prerogative?

President Kim did not attend yesterday's cabinet meeting, which was unusual. Mr. Kim reportedly is mulling what he should do while facing mounting public demands for the truth. Prime Minister Kim Suk-soo also admitted before the National Assembly that the people are upset about the prosecution's decision to postpone an investigation on this matter.

Mr. Lim and Mr. Park exercised uncontested power throughout the Kim administration. If they were involved in the cash transfer to the North out of duty, why can't they step out and speak for themselves? They should reveal the truth before the people and urge President Kim to do the same. Mr. Lim and Mr. Park should mop up this mess in an attitude suitable to their administration posts.
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