This whole mess over the NLL is getting more interesting that I thought it would get.
The main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) said they plan to take legal action against presidential security secretary Chun Yung-woo and an unspecified official responsible for record keeping at the country’s spy agency, for violating existing laws governing non-disclosure of highly classified files.
Chun said Thursday during a parliamentary audit session that he saw a transcript of the 2007 inter-Korean summit two years ago that is held by the National Intelligence Service (NIS), although he declined to elaborate on its contents.
The NIS has confirmed that it has a copy of the official summit transcripts.
The NIS director, for his part, doesn’t think the transcripts should be made public, and what’s more, there’s no “secret transcripts” of conversations between ex-president Roh Moo-hyun and Kim Jong-il.
The Hankyoreh thinks the NIS’s testimony should have brought the NLL issue to a conclusion. As Korea’s paper of progressive record sees it, Chung Moon-hun’s claim that the NIS and Unification Ministry possessed a secret transcript—given to them by the North Koreans!—in which Roh tells KJI that Seoul would no longer claim the NLL since it was simply a line drawn by the Americans to grab more territory was revealed to have been a lie, and it’s that lie that kicked off the Saenuri Party’s calls for a parliamentary investigation and even President Lee’s visit to Baengnyeong-do. Sure, since we can’t release the official summit transcript in the NIS’s possession, you can think maybe something’s in there, but the officials who accompanied Roh to Pyongyang all say he never gave up the NLL, so the Saenuri Party should just shut up and repent.
The Dong-A Ilbo, of course, begs to differ—they want to see what’s in the transcript. Harmonizing protecting secrets with the right to know and all that. The head of the National Assembly Intelligence Committee has asked the NIS to allow him to see the documents, which I’m guessing he can as secret documents can be viewed by anybody with clearance (which I would certainly hope he has). I confess, even if Chung Moon-hun was talking out his ass (and the Saenuri Party says he ain’t), the opposition’s, well, opposition to even reviewing the documents—and the Hankyoreh’s concern for state secrets—have got me quite curious. What’s in there they don’t want the Saenuri Party to see?
Something else has me curious. A couple of days ago, I read an interview in OhMyNews with Professor Moon Chung-in, who served in the Roh administration and is frequently cited in the Western press. He argued the NLL wasn’t a territorial line—either under Article 3 of the ROK Constitution (which claims the entirety of the Korean peninsula) or according to American CIA documents—and to claim it as a territorial line would violate Article 3 since this would in effect be recognizing North Korea as a sovereign state, and then the NLL would become a UN Law of the Sea issue. It’s an interesting interview—if you read Korean—and while he says he’s certain Roh didn’t tell KJI he’d give up the NLL, Moon does say that even if he had, it wouldn’t be a problem.
Moon is also on record—not by his own choosing—discussing the summit and the NLL in a 2007 US State Department cable leaked via Wikileaks:
(C) Moon said the NLL (Northern Limit Line) issue should not be considered a military or sovereignty issue since that would be an acknowledgement of perpetual division of the Peninsula. Instead, the NLL was simply a fisheries issue and, while complicated, could be solved by the two Fisheries Ministers so that both North and South Korean boats could fish in the West Sea. This issue was pressing, Moon said, since PRC fishing vessels were already encroaching in West Sea fishing grounds.
Anyway, it’s got me thinking Roh is recorded saying something about the NLL.