Disclosure of NLL transcript still causing rift

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Disclosure of NLL transcript still causing rift

The ruling and opposition parties yesterday continued to spar over their decision to disclose the records of a secret conversation between the leaders of the two Koreas at their 2007 meeting in Pyongyang.

The National Assembly approved a bill on Tuesday to allow the lawmakers to access a transcript of a conversation between then-President Roh Moo-hyun of South Korea and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-il to verify the claim that Roh allegedly disavowed the Northern Limit Line, the de facto western maritime border, while meeting with Kim.

While the National Intelligence Service declassified and released its copy of the transcript of the conversation last month, the lawmakers yesterday agreed to access the records held at the National Archives to verify the remarks.

Saenuri Representative Suh Sang-kee, chairman of the National Assembly’s Intelligence Committee, said yesterday that he will push for the disclosure of the audio record of the conversation from the National Intelligence Service if the 2007 summit records weren’t allowed to be accessed “smoothly.”

“Because the National Assembly approved the request to the National Archives to submit the relevant documents, I want to wait and see the progress for now,” Suh said.

“But if the access is not granted smoothly or it proceeds in the wrong direction, than the committee must take necessary measures.”

He said necessary measures will include a plan to demand the release of an audio record file stored at the National Intelligence Service.

“With that NIS file, we can make clear what needs to be disclosed and end the NLL controversy as soon as possible. That’s what the people want.”

He also said since the NIS declassified the transcript on May 24, the audio file should also be seen as declassified data.

While the Saenuri Party wanted to disclose the audio file for some time, the Democratic Party has refused the plan. The DP said yesterday that it wants the people to know who was behind the scheme to use the Roh-Kim conversation for political gain.

“It should be laid bare before the people how the transcript of the 2007 inter-Korean summit was leaked to the politicians [before the presidential election], and who distorted it and used it politically,” Kim Han-gill, chairman of the DP, said yesterday at a leadership meeting.

“I want to make clear that the Democratic Party made no arguments that were outside the boundary of law,” he said.

The Democrats have accused some Saenuri politicians, including key members of President Park Geun-hye’s campaign, of having obtained the transcript well before the National Intelligence Service’s declassification last month.

They accused Kim Moo-sung, who headed Park’s campaign, and Kwon Young-se, current ambassador to China, for having their hands on the transcript during the presidential race.

Kim also said yesterday Park must break her silence and promise to investigate the unlawful political schemes of the intelligence agency and the politicians.

BY SER MYO-JA [myoja@joongang.co.kr]
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