Political parties upped the stakes Tuesday over the alleged disavowal of the de facto sea border with North Korea by late President Roh Moo-hyun that could impact this year's presidential election.
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.
Rep. Jung Cheong-rae and other DUP lawmakers pointed out at a press conference that classified records belonging to past presidents can only be examined if two-thirds of all lawmakers agree or if a high court judge issues a warrant to help solve a legal battle.
"The fact that the intelligence agency released the summit records and Chun saw them violates several clauses in the presidential archive law," Jung said.
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.
Jung also said Saenuri Party lawmaker Chung Moon-hun, who initially said Roh verbally surrendered the Northern Limit Line (NLL) in talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, should resign his parliamentary seat for spreading lies.
"Rep. Chung originally said early this month that he saw a 'secret file' of a private meeting between Roh and Kim, which has all proven to be false," he said, adding that Saenuri presidential hopeful Park Geun-hye needs to take responsibility for the spreading of rumors by those people under her.
If true, the NLL controversy has the potential to hurt the DUP and its presidential candidate Moon Jae-in, and if the accusation proves to be false, it could deal a blow to the conservative party and Park. Moon was chief of staff to Roh at the time of the summit meeting.
In response, Rep. Suh Sang-kee, a Saenuri lawmaker and chairman of the National Assembly Intelligence Committee, vowed he will make every effort to allow lawmakers to review the summit files held by the NIS.
"I pledge to safeguard state secrets, but the parliamentary committee needs access to certain files in order to do its job properly," he said.
He said if the NIS rejects such requests, he will take legal action.
"The important thing is for lawmakers to see the files and then determine if they should be made public," the lawmaker said.
Other Saenuri lawmakers said that while the DUP claims the presidential secretary broke the law, the spy agency thinks otherwise. It also claimed that Chung had rephrased his earlier statement on the source of the "secret files" and said the documents were official summit records.
"He has been saying he saw the official summit document for some time, but the DUP seems to be forgetting this," a party spokesman said.
He pointed out Chung made clear he will stake his political career on what is in the files, so if the opposition really wants to confirm the truth, all it has to do is allow the documents to be checked.
The Saenuri Party has persistently insisted that lawmakers agree to examine the documents. The DUP has countered that such measures will compromise the need to maintain secrecy of sensitive records and hurt national interests.
The state prosecutors' office, meanwhile, said it has launched an investigation into possible illegal actions related to the NLL controversy.
It said DUP officials who filed the legal action will be questioned along with Saenuri lawmakers who are accused of spreading lies. (Yonhap)