PM, Defense Minister: Lying or neglecting?
“Everyone knows what the subjects of a Cabinet meeting are,” a top defense official said Friday.
He made the remarks as he explained in private how and when he acquired the
The deputy-minister level official alleged that he and other senior defense officials realized a few days before the meeting that the contentious bilateral deal would be approved on June 26.
“I told other officials that it would be wrong (for the Cabinet to approve it without consulting the National Assembly),” he said. “But it was beyond my ability to pull it out of the list of subjects. I had already missed the boat.”
The ranking official hinted that Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin and Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik should have known about the hasty move since he and his colleagues were also notified of a list of subjects to be approved at the meeting, including the intelligence pact.
If his statements are correct, top military officials, including Defense Minister Kim and Prime Minister Kim have been either lying to the public, or neglecting their duty to pay attention to crucial national security matters.
Prime Minister Kim claims that he had little time to review the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) before he approved it because somebody brought it up as an urgent agenda item to be deliberated at the Cabinet meeting.
However, it is hard to believe that he had no clue of what would happen on June 26 when every senior defense official learned about it days in advance.
Cheong Wa Dae concluded Friday that Kim Tae-hyo, a senior presidential secretary who stepped down over the fiasco, and the foreign ministry are the ones to be blamed for the masterminding of a plan to endorse the pact in a covert, corner-cutting manner.
This, however, does not fully explain why Prime Minister Kim was so ill-informed of such a critical decision that “everyone in the inner circle knew” and whether he shares no responsibility for the bilateral deal’s secretive passage at the Cabinet meeting.
Questions also remain about whether Defense Minister Kim and other security related officials conspired so that Prime Minister Kim would make a fool of himself by endorsing the GSOMIA without realizing the magnitude of its significance.
In this regard, Defense Minister Kim refused to answer and his staff even filed complaints to the public relations office of the defense ministry over a reporter’s attempts to meet with the top military chief to check the facts of the matter.
The vast majority of Koreans vented their anger when they heard the news on June 27, a day after Kim approved the GSOMIA, that the government had given the green light to the deal without notifying the Assembly and the media about it.
It seems they were more upset because they harbored suspicions that the government was deceiving the public, rather than because of the content of the GSOMIA, which many experts claim would be mutually beneficial for Seoul and Tokyo for sharing intelligence on Pyongyang’s military moves.
Their anger will not be alleviated unless those who have been lying or neglecting their duty admit to their mistakes and take responsible action over their mishandling of state affairs.