Controversy deepens over summit transcript disclosure

SEOUL, July 1 (Yonhap) -- Tensions between the ruling and main opposition parties escalated Monday as the two sides argued over whether to disclose the original version of a summit transcript containing late South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun's controversial remarks on the disputed Yellow Sea border with North Korea.

Last week, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) disclosed its copy of the transcript amid the ruling Saenuri Party's claims that Roh had tried to scrap the western sea border, called the Northern Limit Line (NLL), in his 2007 summit with then North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) questioned the authenticity of the document and demanded to see the original transcript, which is being kept at the National Archives of Korea.

By law, the original transcript can only be viewed under certain conditions, such as with two-thirds approval from the National Assembly.

"Let's put an end to this consumptive dispute over the NLL by revealing the original minutes of the summit along with the tape recording of it and all relevant material from before and after the meeting," DP Chairman Kim Han-gil said at a forum on the issue.

Other DP lawmakers voiced reservations abut the move.

DP floor leader Rep. Jun Byung-hun said the transcript and its annexes should be viewed without being disclosed to the public.

The two parties should jointly submit a request to see the transcript and put it to a vote during Tuesday's full Assembly session, he said.

Rep. Park Jie-won of the same party expressed objections to viewing the transcript at all, saying it should remain classified under relevant regulations.

"Which national leaders will open their hearts when they meet with our leaders? And what will happen to inter-Korean ties?" he said in a local radio interview.

The lawmaker, who served as a special envoy during the first inter-Korean summit in 2000, also called on Kim Jang-soo, the chief of national security at the presidential office, and Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se to clear up the allegations surrounding Roh's remarks.

Kim was the defense minister and Yun the senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs at the time of the summit.

"It isn't right to keep silent just because the administration has changed," Park said.

The ruling party called for the transcript's complete disclosure.

"The controversy will only grow if (the transcript) can only be viewed and its contents are not allowed to be discussed," Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun of the ruling party said at a Supreme Council meeting.

The two parties also clashed over whether to hold an extra parliamentary session this month. The current session is due to end on Tuesday.

Rep. Jun, the DP floor leader, said the new session should handle issues related to the transcript as well as bills related to the public's livelihoods.

His ruling party counterpart, Rep. Choi Kyoung-hwan, turned down the request, saying the current session was able to handle most of the issues on its agenda and any additional session would only serve to add fuel to the political strife.

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