Pyongyang ‘insulted’ by transcript

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Pyongyang ‘insulted’ by transcript

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Members of the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation including Lee Jae-joung, former minister of the Unification Ministry, third from right, at a press conference at the office of the foundation in Mapo District, western Seoul. [NEWSIS]

Pyongyang responded to South Korea’s declassification of a transcript of meetings at the 2007 inter-Korean summit, calling it “a grave provocation” against it.

The Committee for Peaceful Reunification of Korea, which is in charge of inter-Korean affairs under North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, issued a statement yesterday denouncing the National Intelligence Service’s declassification, which led to the public release of the transcript of closed-door conversations between the leaders of the North and South.

An unnamed spokesman for the committee said the declassification was an “insult” to the regime and “a grave provocation.”

On Monday South Korea’s spy agency declassified records of the dialogue at a 2007 summit in Pyongyang in which President Roh Moo-hyun told Kim Jong-il that the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border between the North and South, “should be changed” and it “has no legal or logical basis.”

The comments in the transcript attributed to Kim Jong-il were nowhere near as embarrassing or controversial as Roh’s.

Although NIS chief Nam Jae-joon has said the declassification was his decision alone, North Korea accused President Park Geun-hye of playing a role.

“It is evident that this release of the transcript wouldn’t be possible without direct approval from the incumbent authority at the Blue House,” the spokesman said.

The statement also pointed out that South Korea’s conservatives were attempting to label Roh as “pro-Pyongyang” due to his controversial remark about the border.

“In terms of the issue of ‘pro-Pyongyang,’ no puppet authorities [Southern officials] who visited Pyongyang so far would be free from such an accusation,” it said.

As for the NLL, North Korea repeated its rejection of the border and called it “a ghost line illegally drawn up by [the] U.S.”

North Korea did not respond to the release of the transcript until yesterday, when President Park departed for Beijing for her first summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Moon Jae-in, failed presidential candidate from the opposition Democratic Party and the former chief presidential secretary who accompanied Roh to the 2007 summit, protested the NIS’s release of the transcript.

“The transcript of the Korea-Japan summit, which was held during the Park Chung Hee administration, had been classified for 40 years, even though it was not a presidential secret [stored in the National Archives],” Moon said on this Twitter account. “It is the [national] principle not to reveal an important diplomatic document for at least 30 years.”

Moon said if politicians want to get the truth, they should open the official transcript and listen to an audio recording of the dialogue kept at the National Archives of Korea, not the NIS’s document, which he suspected could be altered. The Roh Moo-hyun Foundation held a press conference yesterday and denounced the NIS for “distorting” the truth about the 2007 summit.

“The transcript of the inter-Korean summit is being spread with distorted and manipulated content,” Lee Byeong-wan, chairman of the foundation, said. “President Park should launch a probe into the case and express her willingness to reform the NIS. We are also considering taking legal steps.”


BY KIM HEE-JIN [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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