Joint subcommittee to review NLL transcript
The ruling and main opposition parties yesterday approved a plan to allow a group of lawmakers access to the records of the 2007 inter-Korean summit, sealed and held at the National Archives.
The House Steering Committee of the National Assembly voted to approve the plan, devised by negotiators from the Saenuri Party and the Democratic Party the previous day.
The two major parties have been at odds since a Saenuri lawmaker accused then-President Roh Moo-hyun of having disavowed the Northern Limit Line maritime border during his summit with then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang.
After the National Intelligence Service declassified and released the transcript of the private dialogue between Roh and Kim, the National Assembly made an unprecedented decision on July 2 to release the sealed presidential records.
Deputy leaders of both parties hammered out the details on Tuesday, and the House Steering Committee approved the plan yesterday after a week of negotiations.
According to the plan, five lawmakers from each party will form the subcommittee under the House Steering Committee and access the files. After they view the files, they will decide which parts to reveal. The two parties agreed that a minimum of information should be revealed, considering the sensitive nature of the content.
Since it’s illegal to make public the contents of sealed presidential records, they adopted a plan to sidestep the rule. Rather than making an announcement or holding a press conference, the 10 lawmakers will report to the House Steering Committee.
The two parties agreed to exclude lawmakers from the subcommittee that the other party rejects.
“We’ve agreed that those who have made public the dialogue of the transcript in the past or are actively involved in the controversy will be eliminated [from the subcommittee],” said Representative Jung Sung-ho of the DP.
Lawmakers also agreed that those who are not currently on the House Steering Committee can still be selected to the subcommittee by temporarily changing their committee assignment. The selected lawmakers are to access the records at a meeting room of the House Steering Committee, where necessary security mechanisms are in place.
The two parties agreed that, in order to stop further bickering, the House Steering Committee will be briefed on only the items that are agreed to beforehand by the members of the subcommittee.
Concerns remain, however, as to whether the two sides can reach a full agreement since the lawmakers will interpret the transcript differently.
BY SER MYO-JA [firstname.lastname@example.org]