Who leaked the transcript?The prosecution has extended its investigation into the controversial transcript of the conversation between former President Roh Moo-hyun and leader of North Korea Kim Jong-il at a 2007 summit to discover how its contents were known to ruling party politicians before it was declassified.
Saenuri Party representative Kim Moo-sung was questioned and Suh Sang-kee will be next. It is important for the prosecution to uncover how ruling party bigwigs laid eyes on a copy of the confidential minutes during last year’s presidential campaign.
That’s just as important as finding out how the original transcript disappeared.
The Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office summoned Kim and asked how he, as head of the ruling party election campaign, came to make the bombshell accusation in Busan on Dec. 14, 2012, that President Roh had disavowed the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border of the Yellow Sea, at the summit with Kim Jong-il.
Kim and current Ambassador to China Kwon Young-se have been charged with breaking laws by accessing classified intelligence records and releasing some of the information to the public. Kim claimed that he never saw the copy of the transcript. He learned of it in other ways.
His explanation, however, is not convincing. During a closed-door party meeting in June, Kim said he read through the entire transcript during the presidential race. He later denied he made such a comment. Kim may be telling the truth when he says he came across the information amid intense rivalry toward the end of the presidential race.
What is important is the will of the prosecution to get to the bottom of the story. The prosecution initially planned to send a questionnaire to Kim, but decided to summon him after it questioned Moon Jae-in, the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate last year and former chief of staff for President Roh.
The prosecution is suspected of attempting to lightly treat ruling-party bigwigs while being tough on the opposition party, which is accountable for the disappearance of the transcript during the last days of the Roh administration. If Kim was not summoned, the prosecution could have been accused of unfairness in its investigation.
The prosecution must find out how Kim learned the classified information and whether it was leaked to others. It must be thorough and transparent. Otherwise the investigation may be considered skewed for political reasons.