Prosecutors begin inquiry into NLL

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Prosecutors begin inquiry into NLL

Prosecutors began an investigation into the dispute over the controversial maritime border between the two Koreas in the Yellow Sea, which has emerged as a major political issue in the final weeks before the Dec. 19 presidential election.

Both the ruling Saenuri Party and main opposition Democratic United Party have made accusations and counter-accusations against each other for spreading false allegations about the Northern Limit Line - particularly about whether former liberal President Roh Moo-hyun indeed refused the legitimacy of the de facto maritime border with North Korea during a secret dialogue with then-leader Kim Jong-il.

The Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office yesterday called in the attorney of the DUP for questioning, which on Nov. 17 accused three Saenuri members of spreading groundless rumors.

The DUP’s attorney accused: Representative Chung Moon-hun, who made a bombshell revelation on Oct. 8 that then-President Roh disavowed the NLL for the first time; and lawmaker Lee Cheol-woo and Park Seon-gyu, a spokesman of the Saenuri’s election management committee, who both later made the same allegation as Chung.

The DUP has also accused Chun Yung-woo, the incumbent senior presidential secretary of the Lee Myung-bak administration for foreign and national defense affairs, of violating the Act on the Management of Presidential Archives.

Chun has said that he read a transcript in the National Intelligence Service about the dialogue. But Chun hasn’t revealed what it says.

The Saenuri, which is eager to get to the bottom of it, has claimed that it has been more than a month since the DUP made the first accusation against them, but prosecutors couldn’t start a probe because the DUP hasn’t sent an attorney to attend questioning.

The Saenuri also has made accusations against a series of people, not only the DUP members. On Nov. 1, the DUP’s former chairman, Lee Hae-chan, was accused of making false accusations against Saenuri members.

About two weeks later, on Nov. 19, Suh Sang-kee, the chairman of the National Assembly’s Intelligence Committee and a Saenuri lawmaker, accused Won Sei-hoon, head of the NIS, of abusing his power.

Previously, the NIS chief publicly admitted to the existence of the transcript, but didn’t confirm whether Roh made such a remark on the NLL.

He also refused to open the transcript of the 2007 dialogue between Roh and Kim. Since then, the case has remained unsolved.

By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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