Roh ordered transcript’s revision, Moon says

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Roh ordered transcript’s revision, Moon says

Moon Jae-in, chief of staff for the late President Roh Moo-hyun, claimed on Wednesday that Roh commanded his subordinates to supplement and revise the content of the original transcript of the 2007 summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

According to officials from the Roh government, Moon reportedly told prosecutors during questioning that Cho Myoung-gyon - Roh’s security policy secretary involved in writing the transcript - simply made a mistake, which was why the final version of the transcript was not transferred to the National Archives.

“I discovered, based on documents shown by the prosecution, that President Roh ordered officials to revise the content of the original version initially reported to him,” said Moon, on his way out of the Central District Prosecutors’ Office in Seocho District, southern Seoul, following nine hours of questioning. “If there was [a presidential] order for revision and supplementation [to the original transcript], and the president saw the revised transcript, isn’t it obvious then that the original version was not subject to the transfer [to the National Archives]?”

Moon, a confidant of the late president, served as Roh’s chief of staff from March 2007 to February 2008 and was responsible for transferring presidential records to the National Archives at the end of Roh’s term in 2008.

Moon’s remark Wednesday was in line with claims by former Roh government officials that counter allegations that Roh attempted to discard the original transcript.

Blue House officials during Roh’s administration claim that the original draft of the transcript contained errors - including misidentifying participants at the summit - and that the final version was produced later after correcting these errors.

In last year’s presidential campaign, a ruling Saenuri Party lawmaker alleged that Roh - the Democratic candidate - had disavowed the NLL (Northern Limit Line), the de facto border in the Yellow Sea, at the 2007 summit with Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang, and that transcript of the meeting proved it.

Afterward, the original transcript at the National Archives was found missing, and the fate of the transcript has since become as big an issue as what was actually on it.

In line with Moon’s testimony at the questioning on Wednesday, Democratic Representative Jeon Hae-cheol said yesterday at a meeting at the National Assembly that it was a technical mistake that the revised transcript was omitted from a list of records to be transferred to the National Archives.

“It was discovered that the final version of the transcript was omitted because of a technical and operational mistake,” said Chun, who was a civil affairs secretary at the liberal Roh government.

The ruling Saenuri Party continued their offensive against Moon and the DP over the disappearance of the transcript. At a party leadership meeting yesterday, Choi Kyung-hwan, Saenuri floor leader, called Moon’s remark on Wednesday “irresponsible” and “shameless.”

“Remarks by Moon that the Roh government guarded the NLL [Northern Limit Line] and that the transcript is intact made me wonder if he really understood why he was summoned for questioning as a witness,” the conservative lawmaker said.

Under the Act on the Management of Presidential Archives Clause 11, all presidential records must be transferred to the National Archives before the end of a president’s term.

If the records are destroyed without legal reason, the person who ordered it could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of up to 30 million won ($28,290).



BY KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]
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