Korean party urges action on missing summit transcript

South Korea's two main political parties are continuing to clash over the missing 2007 inter-Korean summit minutes, with the ruling Saenuri Party calling for an investigation by the prosecutors' office.

The Saenuri Party is calling for a prosecutors' investigation to determine how the transcript disappeared, and has pointed the finger of blame at the Roh Moo-hyun administration.

The transcript of the summit became a hot political issue following claims that late President Roh Moo-hyun had denied the legitimacy of the Northern Limit Line (NLL)―the de facto maritime border between the two Koreas―to late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

Although the two main parties agreed to view the presidential records to settle the issue, the full transcript of the meeting was shown to be absent from the National Archives on Monday.

"(I) urge the prosecution to conduct an investigation and reveal the truth regarding the disappearance of the records," Saenuri Party floor leader Rep. Choi Kyung-hwan said at Tuesday's party leadership meeting.

He also pressed Democratic Party's Rep. Moon Jae-in, former presidential candidate and chief of staff to Roh, to clarify his position.

"Even now, when the transcript has been proven to not exist, (Moon) remains silent. This is undignified for a man who served as the last chief of staff and who ran for the presidency."

Although Moon broke his silence late Tuesday, the former Roh aide chose to focus on resolving the "NLL controversy" rather than the whereabouts of the transcript.

"Let's end the NLL controversy without dragging it out further. The situation of the missing transcript is something the ruling party and opposition can discuss separately," Moon said in a statement. Saying that the majority of the public did not consider Roh's statements included in the NIS' version of the summit minutes as a concession on the NLL, Moon urged the Saenuri Party to move on from the issue. Moon also said that available records were sufficient to put the issue to rest.

"The Saenuri Party has already used the NLL enough. It was used in the presidential election and to cover the NIS' election interference."

As the ruling party sustained its attack on the Roh administration and the DP, reports emerged claiming that Cho Myung-gyun, former security aide to Roh, admitted to Roh ordering the transcript to be deleted.

According to the reports citing unnamed government and ruling party officials, Cho told the prosecution that Roh ordered the records to be deleted from the e-Jiwon system during questioning in January.

Cho is also said to have claimed that Roh did not intend for the records to be completely deleted, as the National Intelligence Service was in possession of a copy of the transcript.

The reports, however, have been rejected by the Roh Moo-hyun foundation as being untrue. It said that those responsible for the reports were "writing a novel".

The main opposition Democratic Party, for its part, is calling for a committee for viewing related records to go ahead analysing the available data, regardless of whether the full transcript can be found at the National Archives.

"The documents regarding the preparations for and follow up activities are already at the National Assembly. Viewing them alone would be sufficient to prove whether there was an intention to give up the NLL," DP floor leader Rep. Jun Byung-hun said Tuesday. He went on to say that the ruling party refusing to view the existing records was "incomprehensible," and that the DP would push to see them.

"In addition, it appears inevitable that further investigation into the National Archives' system for keeping records, which has been shown to have grievous and critical faults, is carried out," Jun added.

Although high level DP officials have also called for related issues to be clarified, the method has been left open.

"Available options include a parliamentary investigation, parliamentary hearing, and investigations by special counsel and the prosecution. Normally one of the four is chosen. But there are before and after (summit) documents," Rep. Shin Kyoung-min, a member of the DP's supreme council, said in a radio interview on Monday. As for the recording of the summit, Shin expressed caution, saying that there were doubts about its authenticity.