Eruption at Blue House over Xi’s leaked remarks

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Eruption at Blue House over Xi’s leaked remarks

The Blue House lashed out at Democratic Party senior leader Park Jie-won for saying Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping had criticized the administration’s North Korea policy at a 2009 meeting, saying the politician “committed an act amounting to benefiting an enemy of the state.”

The Blue House also said Park had lied about Xi’s remarks and that a partial transcript of the 2009 meeting between Xi and former President Kim Dae-jung didn’t contain Xi’s remarks. The Blue House has demanded an apology from the DP floor leader.

Park’s comments were featured in a front page article in yesterday’s Korea JoongAng Daily.

“The DP floor leader Park’s remarks amount to an act of serving the interest of the enemy because he wrongly used diplomacy for domestic political gains and harmed our national interests,” Hong Sang-pyo, senior presidential secretary for political affairs, said yesterday. “Park must apologize for his actions and take responsibility.”

The Democratic Party was unrepentant and charged the Blue House with “reacting arrogantly toward Park’s constructive criticism based on the truth.”

On Tuesday, Park said that Xi, considered a frontrunner to succeed President Hu Jintao in 2013, expressed disapproval of the Lee administration’s North Korea policy during a May 2009 meeting with former President Kim in Beijing. Park accompanied Kim to the meeting.

“The Lee administration, along with Japan, acts as the disrupter of peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Park quoted Xi as saying. “I could not understand why the Lee administration, in contrast to previous administrations, did not make exchanges with the North and kept inter-Korean tensions high.”

The Blue House said Park lied about Xi’s remarks.

“What Park said is not only an insult to President Lee but is also serious defamation against Xi,” Hong said. “Furthermore, it is an insult to the people of Korea and an act that seriously damages our national interests.”

Hong said the Blue House has detailed excerpts of a transcript from the 2009 meeting, which shows that the Chinese leader never made such remarks. President Kim, his wife, Park and former Minister of Unification Chung Se-hyun, accompanied by three Korean diplomats including then-ambassador to Beijing Shin Jung-seung, met with Xi and other Chinese officials for 50 minutes on May 5, 2009, Hong said.

“Our review of the transcript showed that Xi made no such remarks,” Hong said. “I also confirmed with the diplomats who attended the meeting. They said Xi made no such remarks nor were there any parts that could be misinterpreted.”

Hong also said Kim’s secretary at the time released a report about the meeting that did not include Xi’s supposed remarks.

“At this point, it’s imperative for the ruling and opposition parties to cooperate to ensure the success of the G20 Summit, and we cannot tolerate Park’s attempt to attack Lee with groundless remarks,” Hong said. “Park should reflect on his actions since he is the real disrupter of peace and diplomacy.”

Hong said the Blue House will take other necessary measures if Park does not apologize, but refused to elaborate. He also refrained from describing how President Lee reacted to Park’s remarks.

The Democratic Party issued a statement yesterday, accusing the Blue House of having a high-handed attitude and starting a war against critics.

“Park disclosed [Xi’s remarks] for the sake of diplomatic balance in Northeast Asia and peace on the Korean Peninsula, and to urge President Lee to take the initiative for peaceful coexistence [with the North] and to begin inter-Korean talks,” Jeon Hyun-heui, Democratic Party spokeswoman, said in a statement. “But Hong said it was an act benefiting an enemy. Who did Park benefit? Is working for the peace of Korea an act of benefiting an enemy?”

Jeon said the Lee administration apparently wants to declare war against any critics, expressing regret for the Blue House’s demand for an apology.

A DP official also said Xi’s remarks were made behind closed doors and that’s why there was no record of it.

“Just because it was not documented does not mean that it is groundless,” the official said.

By Ser Myo-ja []
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