Rival parties to view controversial summit transcript this week

SEOUL, July 14 (Yonhap) -- The ruling and main opposition parties will this week view excerpts of a summit transcript containing late South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun's controversial remarks on the disputed Yellow Sea border with North Korea, party officials said Sunday.

A committee of 10 lawmakers comprised of five members each from the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) is expected to receive copies of the excerpts from the National Archives of Korea on Monday afternoon, according to the officials.

The passages, which will be selected by the lawmakers on Monday morning, will serve to verify claims by the ruling party that Roh tried to scrap the maritime border during his 2007 summit meeting with then North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. The ruling party claims the late liberal president undermined South Korea's sovereignty, while the opposition party insists the allegations are nonsense and are aimed at diverting public attention away from a scandal surrounding the state spy agency.

That scandal centers on allegations that former National Intelligence Service chief Won Sei-hoon ordered an online smear campaign to sway public opinion in favor of the ruling party ahead of last December's presidential election.

Once the excerpts of the transcript arrive at the National Assembly, the committee members will only be allowed to view the documents between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays without the use of electronic devices, such as laptops or cell phones, the officials said. The lawmakers will, however, be able to take notes.

"The committee members will complete their reading of the documents within 10 days starting tomorrow, and publicly brief the National Assembly's Steering Committee only on the parts the two parties agree on," said Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun, the first vice floor leader of the ruling party, in a meeting with reporters.

By law, it is forbidden to make public the contents of presidential archives. However, the two parties have agreed to disclose the contents of the transcript under the protection of parliamentary immunity for lawmakers.

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