Roh’s men scoff at transcript tiffPresidential aides of former President Roh Moo-hyun yesterday disputed allegations that Roh had directed them to destroy the record of his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in 2007.
At a press briefing at the Seoul High Prosecutors’ Office in Seocho District, Kim Kyung-soo, Roh’s presidential speechwriter, said, “The original transcript was not transferred to the National Archives because it was an incomplete version” that had misnamed some participants in the meeting.
The original transcript was not transferred to the National Archives only because it contained errors, Kim said, adding that some dialogue had also not been transcribed. He said Roh administration officials had produced a final version of the transcript after correcting those errors, and thus “there was no need for the incomplete original transcript to be transferred to the National Archives.”
When asked the obvious question - why wasn’t the revised version in the archives? - Kim said he did not know, and said that should be the focus of the prosecution’s investigation of the matter.
Finally, Kim claimed that the original transcript had never been deleted, rebutting a prosecutors’ report last week saying they had found some traces of it on a hard drive at Roh’s house. He said the staff had deleted a title column and outline of the original transcript, akin to placeholders in the system, because that version was not to be sent to the archives.
Kim, now a director at the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation, said if Roh had attempted to hide the summit records, he would not have handed the transcript of the meeting over to the intelligence agency for the next administration to review before the next inter-Korean summit. “It does not make sense,” he added.
After the press briefing, a prosecutor told the JoongAng Ilbo on the condition of anonymity that the claim that the original transcript was never deleted is “flat-out wrong.”
“We will make public how much effort we put into recovering the discarded transcript when we announce the results of the investigation,” he said.
Separately, the Democratic Party released a letter from the Ministry of National Defense saying that President Roh had approved a position paper upholding the validity of the Northern Limit Line; the paper was used in a meeting of the two Koreas’ defense officials in Pyongyang a month after the 2007 summit. Representative Jeon Hae-cheol said the ministry replied Tuesday to questions the party had submitted earlier.
BY KANG JIN-KYU, SHIM SAE-ROM [firstname.lastname@example.org]