Nothing left to do but waitThe prosecution announced the results of its 114-day investigation into the whereabouts of the minutes of the 2007 inter-Korean summit talks that strangely went missing from the Presidential Archives. The focus was on why and how such significant records that should have been kept sealed in the National Archives disappeared. The ruling Saenuri Party insisted the government of President Roh Moo-hyun destroyed the records, fearing a possible fallout from his remarks suggesting a disavowal of the Northern Limit Line, the de facto border on the Yellow Sea, during a private conversation with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
The prosecution came to the conclusion that Roh ordered his aides - Baek Jong-chun, his chief secretary for diplomacy and security, and Cho Myoung-gyon, his security policy secretary - to delete the file on the minutes of the summit conversation from the presidential computer system. Cho also was ordered to revise the draft of the conversation records. The prosecution concluded the culprit behind the deletion, removal and modification of the summit transcript was the former president. The upcoming trial should concentrate on why Roh made such an order. But the prosecution declined to comment on the reason, either because of the political burden or difficulty in the investigation.
The two aides were indicted on charges of violating the Act on the Management of Presidential Archives. However, Moon Jae-in, Roh’s chief of staff who organized the summit talks and the DP’s presidential candidate in last December’s election, escaped legal responsibility as the prosecution couldn’t find any evidence of his involvement.
Moon’s accountability was questioned after he said he was in charge when the files were moved. Even though the prosecution wrapped up the investigation, Moon is not entirely free from political and moral responsibility. He is advised to keep himself low-key as the central figure of the controversial 2007 inter-Korean summit and chief of staff who was unaware of the nullification of the summit records.
The prosecution said it could not discover big changes between the original draft and the modified version of the minutes. The Saenuri Party claimed the modification was ordered to delete controversial remarks on the NLL. The holes in the prosecution’s investigation could only be filled by the late president. The investigation outcome does not deal as heavy a blow to living politicians. But both the ruling and opposition parties have nothing to be proud of. They better just keep quiet and await the court rulings.