Probe into Roh aide’s remark on Cheonan

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Probe into Roh aide’s remark on Cheonan

Seoul’s Central District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday launched a probe into Park Sun-won, former President Roh Moo-hyun’s secretary for national security, on charges of spreading false information about the sunken Navy vessel Cheonan.

The investigation follows a complaint filed with the prosecution by Defense Minister Kim Tae-young, who accused Park of defaming the Defense Ministry by spreading lies.

In an interview with MBC radio’s current affairs program last month, Park asserted that the Lee Myung-bak administration was concealing information about the sinking.

“It’s hard to say that the U.S. government has some information [about the Cheonan] that the Korean government doesn’t have, but one sure thing is that the Korean government has information that wasn’t shared with the public, and the U.S. government has it,” Park said in the radio interview.

“The government didn’t disclose to the public accurate information as to what direction the Cheonan was heading and how fast it was sailing between 9:15 and 9:22 p.m. [of March 26] when the Defense Ministry said the accident occurred. And this information can’t be classified as confidential military information.”

Park, who served as presidential secretary for national security under the Roh administration from February 2006 to February 2008, is currently a Northeast Asia energy and security visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution. He also serves as an adviser for a Democratic Party committee on the Cheonan investigation.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office classified the investigation as a public security case.

The investigation also comes after the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office on April 28 sent notice to its district prosecutors’ offices across the country that those who spread groundless rumors on the Cheonan, both online and offline, would be subject to stern punishment.

A prosecutor said, “Another prosecutor under the Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office is currently investigating some 10 cases of groundless rumors spread in cyberspace.”


By Kim Mi-ju, Lee Chul-jae [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

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