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[Editorial] Great cry and little wool

Posted June. 10, 2014 06:58,   


Prosecutors summarily indicted Rep. Chung Moon-hun of the ruling Saenuri Party only to fine him five million won (4,925 U.S. dollars) after the investigation into the leak of the dialogue of the 2007 inter-Korean summit. Nine people including Rep. Kim Moo-seong and Rep. Suh Sang-ki of the ruling party, Kwon Young-se, Korean Ambassador to China, and Nam Jae-joon, a former head of the National Intelligence Service, were cleared of charges. It is like a great cry and little wool as the case that rocked the country ended up with a frustrating result.

The case was first initiated by Rep. Chung. He said in a parliamentary inspection of the Unification Ministry on Oct. 8, 2012 in the run-up to the presidential election, “Former President Roh Moo-hyun gave up the Northern Limited Line in the inter-Korean summit.” This agitated the country before the presidential election. He was sued for allegedly spreading false information against the Public Official Election Act, but was cleared of charges later. Then, opposition parties sued him again for leaking the dialogue in a press conference and accessing an excerpt of the minutes stored by the National Intelligence Service without permission.

Prosecutors found that Chung had no problem in accessing the transcript when he was the presidential secretary for unification, but they thought that it was against the law to announce the dialogue, which was irrelevant to his legislative activities. After announcing the dialogue in the parliamentary inspection, Chung had an interview and held a press conference outside the National Assembly. Although the dialogue of the inter-Korean summit was disclosed after the National Assembly agreed to release it, it was inappropriate to release the document in advance as it was illegal and could have a negative impact on diplomacy.

Prosecutors first sent written inquiries for investigation to Rep. Kim Moo-sung, which led to an outcry of opposition parties. Only after the public grew angry at this, the prosecution summoned him. Despite the public duty of neutrality in politically controversial cases, the prosecution laid themselves open to attack and made people suspect their intention of investigation, causing criticism on biased investigation standards. Some in opposition parties are mentioning this as the first case for the Special Investigation Act effective from June 19. However, applying a special investigation for the case seems to be too political.

Regarding the detainment of a female employee of the National Intelligence Service, which happened right before the presidential election, prosecutors asked the court to fine Rep. Kang Gi-jeong, Rep. Moon Byeong-ho, Rep. Lee Jong-gul, and Rep. Kim Hyun of the main opposition New Political Alliance for Democracy Party two million won (1,970 dollars) to five million won (4,925 dollars) and cleared the charges of other four lawmakers including Rep. Woo Won-sik. Opposition parties claim that the investigation is a “political oppression.” Prosecutors announced the results of the two cases on the same day while they came to the conclusion long before. Critics say that it is a trick for balancing out the cases.