The transcript fiasco

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The transcript fiasco

We are dumbfounded at the stunning news that the National Archives does not have possession of the record of a behind-closed-doors conversation between President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il at a 2007 summit in Pyongyang - despite all the painstaking efforts to find the original transcript.

There are three possible explanations for the fiasco. First, former President Roh might not have delivered the transcript to the archives. A presidential secretary to Roh told prosecutors that the president had ordered his aides to keep the transcript with the National Intelligence Service - not at the Blue House - in contrast to what former Blue House chief of staff Moon Jae-in has claimed. “The president ordered us to keep the transcript at both the National Archives and the NIS,” Moon said.

Some members of the ruling party have raised the possibility of Roh directing his aides to delete the transcript digitally shortly before his retirement. Although the Roh camp contends that the digital management system doesn’t have a delete function, some say that’s a lie.

Second, the transcript could have been deleted after it was transferred to the National Archives. The DP is trying to cast suspicion on the Lee Myung-bak administration by saying, “No one knows what happened to the transcript during the previous administration.”

Third, politicians from both parties and IT experts could have simply failed to find the document, although that possibility is admittedly very low. Some DP lawmakers have argued for an immediate restoration of the Roh government’s digital management system to access the data in question.

The three possibilities were raised when lawmakers kicked off their search. But the ruling party is still suspicious of the opposition, and vice versa. It’s an excruciating stalemate.

In principle, it would be best if the issue could be resolved politically - in other words, within the venue of the National Assembly. But the drastically different approaches by the two sides are testing the public’s patience. Now the Saenuri Party insists on an investigation by prosecutors, while the opposition wants an investigation by a special prosecutor.

An investigation seems inevitable. But both sides must remember one thing: the prosecution has already looked at the copy of the transcript kept by the National Intelligence Service and confirmed its genuineness.

But both sides still refuse to accept the prosecution’s findings. We urge them to accept the results of any investigation by the prosecution.

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