NIS Leaks Transcript of Inter-Korea Summit

As the disputed sea border between North and South Korea, the Northern Limit Line (NLL) is one of the most critical flashpoints on the Korean Peninsula. In recent years, it was the site of the sinking of the ROKS Cheonan and the Bombardment of Yeonpyeong. In 2007, during the second inter-Korean summit, former South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun and former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il had a discussion about the NLL. Recently, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) leaked the contents of the NLL discussion, during which President Roh is alleged to have secretly promised to give North Korea the territorial boundary it wanted.

NLL-map

A. Northern Limit Line (NLL, the border claimed by South Korea since 1953)
B. Military Demarcation Line (the border claimed by North Korea since 1999)
1. Yeonpyeong Island (Site of artillery clash in November 2010)
2. Baengnyeong Island (Site of sinking of Cheonan, March 2010)
3. Daecheong Island (site of Nov 1999 battle)
4. Jung-gu (Incheon Intl. Airport)
5. Seoul 6. Incheon 7. Haeju
8. Kaesong 9. Ganghwa County 10. Bukdo Myeon
11. Deokjeok Myeon 12. Jawol Myeon 13. Yeongheung Myeon

Online reaction to the NLL issue was evenly divided; in this article, some of the most up-voted comments were also some of the most down-voted comments. Given the difficulty of understanding public opinion based on online reaction alone, there was a formal survey as well. According to the survey by Gallup, 53% of the respondents thought President Roh did not promise to give up the NLL, while 24% of them thought he indeed did. 45% of them answered that it was wrong for the NIS to reveal the summit transcript while 35% believed it was appropriate.

From Yonhap News:

‘NLL transcript scandal’ twist after twist…one mistake can be critical

Politics in South Korea have been on a rollercoaster lately, with constant new twists relating to the 2007 inter-Korea summit between deceased former President Roh Moo-hyun and former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

On the 31st of last month when the Saenuri Party (NFP) and the Democratic United Party (DUP) were deciding on the agenda for the National Assembly, the main issue was still investigations into the Jinju Medical Center rather than the NIS election scandal. However, only after several days, as soon as it was known that Minister of Justice Hwang Gyo-an had directed the prosecution to reconsider charging former NIS director Won Sei-hoon with violation of the election law, Yeouido politics began to heat up at the legislature. Eventually, Won Sei-hoon and former Seoul Police Chief Kim Yong-pan were prosecuted without detention and the DUP focused their party power on investigating the NIS scandal. Saenuri was cornered by this strategy, and claimed that investigation into the NIS can commence only after completing investigation on the suspicion of the DUP bribing former and current NIS employees as well as tailing and confining the NIS female employee. However, the Saenuri Party was unable to gather support for their demands and ended up looking they were at a decided disadvantage.

Amid the tedious tug-of-war between the ruling and opposition parties, on June 20th, Saenuri members opened an excerpt of the inter-Korea summit transcript which had been archived by the NIS. Saenuri seized on former President Roh’s statement ‘hinting at abandonment of the NLL’ and began a full offensive on the opposition, demanding accountability. In reaction, the DUP’s investigation of the NIS election interference began to stall. Saenuri tried hard to justify procedural legitimacy in revealing the excerpt copy of the summit transcript by claiming that it was in order to rebut DUP congressman Park Young-seon’s claim that the NLL controversy is a maneuver coordinated by the NIS and Saenuri. Whatever the procedure was, congressman Park ended up providing the cause for retaliation. Due to a separate national security issue that emerged in June, the month dedicated to honoring patriots and veterans, the DUP was already on the defensive. By the end of the month, there was a dramatic reversal of the offensive and the defensive movements in politics.

The battle has sharpened as Saenuri pressured the DUP, calling them ‘a party lacking a sense of national security’, while the DUP accused Saenuri of illegally revealing the summit transcript. When the full summit transcript was revealed by the NIS on the 24th, it seemed Saenuri took the upper hand. They were about to claim that it was proven that former President Roh was on the verge of surrendering the NLL to North Korea. However, it became clear that there were some differences between the full transcript and the excerpt copy, a disturbing fact that eroded public support for Saenuri. By the next day, Saenuri had reluctantly accepted the request for investigate into the NIS election scandal.

The rollercoaster dropped once again on June 26th when the DUP exposed evidence that Won Young-se, South Korea’s ambassador to China and the former director of Saenuri’s transitional committee, had promised in 2012 to reveal the contents of the NLL transcript should his party take power. On the same day, Saenuri congressman Kim Mu-seong brought trouble upon himself by implying that he had access to the summit transcript before the election period, all of which indicated that Saenuri had been holding the transcript in reserve to deploy against the DUP whenever they wanted, rather than it being leaked separately by the NIS. The course of the summit transcript controversy twisted once again and the DUP has clearly come out on top.

DUP has begun a fierce offensive, claiming that it has been revealed that the current government was involved in organized actions affecting the election. Saenuri is on the defensive, questioning the legitimacy of the tape-recording of Ambassador Won. In this confusing tussle for all parties involved, parties are exerting their every effort to control their assembly members’ remarks and prevent them from scoring an own goal. At the same time, each party is trying to take the lead by making sensational remarks about a “treacherous president” and “no different from Yeonsangun“. It is impossible to predict the conclusion of this twisting political drama.

Comments from Nate:

defi****:

Is the NIS election scandal getting buried like this? Weren’t they also involved in fabrications related to President Roh Moo-hyun’s death? Is the NIS a private enforcement service for the Blue House?

ks47****:

For selling out his nation to Japan, Lee Wan-yong is a traitor. Our lands, skies and seas should be protected at all costs.

pota****:

Are you kidding me? A branch of the national government interferes in the election, the basis of a democracy, in order to serve the throne and release misleading information. You just regard it as a scuffle between the ruling and opposition parties? Is that the level of democratic Korea’s media? NIS isn’t independent of politics. How on earth can media have freedom to do its proper function? What a stupid article.

pink****:

Foreign media amusingly reported that it was the spy agency that leaked secrets in South Korea, ke ke. Funny NIS.

xhla****:

Hey lefty zombies, please….wake up… He didn’t just give up the NLL. He gladly presented it to North Korea;;;

skyo****:

Roh Moo-hyun, are you listening in Hell?

pug1****:

Ah, are they going to have protests but run off as soon as the clock hits 10 PM again?? Ke ke ke ke ke ke ke. Hey, I participated in freaking candlelight protests four times. I was put in detention twice. From the third one, I was just an observer, ke ke ke ke. What can those bastards who run off at 10 PM do anyway? Ke ke ke ke.

high***:

In order to cover up President Roh’s sin of treachery, leftists on Nate trying to make a scandal out of three internet comments written by NIS employees. [the comments criticized candidates from the opposition party during the 2012 election]

lawf****:

This nation is going insane. Those who rightfully criticize the traitor are being denounced as conservative idiots. Folks in their 20s should be enraged at the crooked reality where those who strongly condemn colonial collaborators and North Korea-worshiping jongpuk groups are being denounced as mad men! Let me make an analogy. If there is a rapist or a murderer among the politicians, of course the police has to catch him. Would you think the police is interfering with politics then??? By the same token, if treacherous puppets of Kim Jung-il are waging an extreme campaign to abolish the National Security Law, the NIS, an organization for national security, has to hunt down those traitors. How is this interfering with politics?! Shouldn’t the NIS be charged with dereliction of duty if they sit back and don’t care?? Kim Man-bok, former NIS director during the Roh administration, had no will to catch spies and he was sentenced to imprisonment for leaking national secrets to the enemy state. [In fact, the indictment was later suspended.] Moon Jae-in, who closely served President Roh, served up some bullshit about that traitor Kim Man-bok maintaining his political neutrality well. Traitors are cosplaying as victims! You should be enraged that this nation is going crazy!!! Don’t forget that our nation has to be pro-American, anti-communist and anti-Japanese! Lee Jeong-hee, Roh Moo-hyun, Lee Seok-ki, Han Sang-ryeol and Oh Jong-ryeol are the modern Five Eulsa Traitors!! Let me also add that Chun Doo-hwan was a crazy bastard who seized power through a coup and oppressed citizens under his military regime!! That 290,000-won-worthy bastard who spent our nation’s money as his should be hacked to pieces! Kwangju 5.18 Movement was not a riot but a democratization movement!

mpki****:

Whoa, who are these guys defending Roh Moo-hyun’s handling of the NLL here??? Naive kids are shitting everywhere. You will be ashamed of all your shit later.

bcx1****:

You know what? Did you know that while former President Roh was in power, he illegally asked the NIS to pry into candidate Lee Myung-bak’s supporters before the 17th presidential election? NIS illegally collected their personal information with aid from national organizations such as the National Tax Service and the police. Because of that, NIS agent Mr. Go was sentenced to one year of imprisonment and two years of probation.

defi****:

Apart from the actual content of the summit transcript, I’m more shocked at the fact that the NIS released classified documents at their whim. Now what country will want to have summits with South Korea since they will think it will be leaked later.

soni****:

Answer me, Roh Wan-yong [Roh Mu-hyun + Lee Wan-yong] in Hell!

acro****:

All kinds of things happen during Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye’s administrations.

wypa****:

What plot twist? Saenuri tried to divert attention by using the summit transcript about NLL from NIS when they were cornered, just as a retaliation method! Let’s take this chance and impeach the Saenuri Assembly Members!

soda****:

Foreign media is saying President Roh did not say he gave up the NLL. Ilbe bastards are going bonkers about treachery, not even reading the entire transcript. In fact, President Roh tried to bring more benefits to us. What are these bugs going on about? Go die, you bugs.

inok****:

It is appropriate for the NIS protecting the nation from jongpuk to criticize the head of jongpuk. 70 DUP albas are again trying to manipulate the top comments, sitting in their office at the Shin Donghae Building.The true nature of the opposition parties!! Jongpuk groups are really scary…

acbu****:

Donga: President Park, “If North Korea respects Yellow Sea borders, we can discuss making them Waters of Peace.”
News Tomato: If ‘Waters of Peace’ leads to abandonment of NLL, does Park’s ‘DMZ Peace Park’ lead to abandonment of DMZ? Self-contradictory NLL controvery from Saenuri…Not distinguishing abandonment from revision.

Ma’am, what is this all about? According to Saenurilbe [Saenuri + Ilbe], Pres. Park tried to sell the nation!!! According to the bugs, you become Park Wan-yong?!!! Please explain. That’s the Saenurilbe’s speciality~ “If they do it, it’s abandonment and if I do it, it’s diplomacy.”

the9****:

Ouch, it’s about time for Ilbe guys to come in droves. I’m too busy to deal with them~ ke ke.

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  • lonetrey / Dan

    Both parties sound like they’re full of it…

    Also, what is with that BS LineB on that map? Who does the North Koreans think they’re kidding? Ahaha

    • Yondae

      If it is actually true that the former Prez wanted to do that, pretty ridiculous. Ain’t nobody’s hands clean in this mess.

  • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

    Like NIS is saying “You thought we dug ourselves into a hole? That’s nothing. give us a shovel and we’ll go even deeper!”

  • commander

    The root cause of the present political turmoil is that the NIS election meddling is defended by the ruling party lawmakers, a high profile scandal that would be inconceivable in other democracies, say the United States.

    The counterattack or watering down attempt by the beiseged ruling party engineered is to raise as a controversial issue deceased President Roh’s alleged remarks on the western maritime border during the 2007 inter Korean summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

    This political offensive will face a failure as not only is its initial motivation to provide a cover for what is gravely wrong action on the spy agency’s part but also special relationship between two Koreas requires political art beyond moral judgement with ethical criteria that are applied to inidividuals.

    Diplomatically speaking, revealing closed door talks between leaders is a breach of diplomatic protocol of unprecedented proportions.

    Also problematic is the maddening silence at the Blue House. The Yeouido politicis are so messy that Madam president’s campaign pledges will get nowhere amid the political haggling.

    It is high time Ms. Park act as a mediator in what otherwise would be embroiled deeper into political confusion.

    • KCdude

      It doesn’t matter anymore. Domestic politics itself is weakening South Korea. Supporting a political party itself is a disservice against the Korean people.

      • commander

        Politics should br understood as not only power struggle but also a process of hammering out a compromise for conflicting interests.

        Politics as power struggle means it goes beyond choosing politically negotiated right direction. The political arena is one where one tries to identify one’s existential vlaue by expanding one’s power base over others.

        Politics as the process of narrowing differences implies thr confrontationalnature of party politics.

        No wonder in reality politicians seek political machinations to gain an upper hand over others–maneuvers involving ideological offensive and expose of corruptions and political weaknesses.

        To put these two elements in perspective, politics has never been and will never been seamless adjustment of vested interests.

        Dismissing the current political turmoil as associated with communism only highlights your superficial understanding of Korean politics.

        Plus, KoreaBang is where all communication is made in English. Please refrain from speaking your ideas in Korean.

  • KCdude

    I love Korean politicians from both North and South. They love to make fools out of themselves as if it’s their only duty. (대한민국도 정치국의 입김으로 지배하는 일종의 공산주의 국가입니다. 대한민국의 모든 정치인들은 순전히 빨갱이입니다.)

  • commander

    A appoximately 60 year long divided Korea requires shrewd diplomacy for the reunification as a reunited Korea has become an increasingly elusive goal because of North Korea’s increased nuclear provocations and neighboring powers’ reluctance to permit any changes in status quo in Northeast Asia.

    Deceased president Roh’s alleged display of willingness to redraw, in the South’s disfavor, the western maritime border with Pyongyang, raised by a ruling party parlimentarian with the apparent aim of diverting public attention away from intervention by the nation’s spy agency in the 2012 presidential election, should be in the context of tactically drawing broadened exchanges with the community nation for reduced naval skirmishes in the Yello Sea.

    The UN imposed sea border reflects stronger military posture on UN-backed South Korea’s part, meaning the border unilaterally set much father North breed maritime insecurity for North Korea–a tactical disadvantage that has been the constant source of the North’s discontent and triggered several inter-Korean naval clashes in the west sea.

    Roh’s idea would be that the allegedly proposed joint fishery zone around the sea border would boost fishing activity from two Koreas, which would guarantee peaceful coexistance and strengthen maritime mutual interdependence, hence eliminating causes North cite when it wage armed provocations.

    In the regard, the suggested fishery zone two Koreas operate in concert is understood as a continuation of North Korea engagement policy that began when former President Kim Dae-joong, Roh’s predecessor, took office.

    Therefore, the ruling party’s political offensive that regard Roh’s suggestion as undermining the nation’s soverignty reveals thr lack of diplomatic subtlety and shortage of political nuances from the proposal.

    Political manuevers to misinterpret Roh’s remarks should be stopped as, albeit vast differences with the ruling party in handling Pyongyang, engagement policy is an action of political art to find diplomatic elbow room for a reunited Korea.

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