Roh 'Offered to Surrender Northern Limit Line'

Former President Roh Moo-hyun in October 2007 as good as offered then North-Korean leader Kim Jong-il to scrap the de facto maritime border drawn up at the end of the Korean War, a lawmaker claimed Monday.

Saenuri Party lawmaker Chung Moon-hun read excerpts from a recording that was allegedly made by the North during the inter-Korean summit in 2007. Roh can be heard telling Kim that the Northern Limit Line "is a headache" that was "unilaterally drawn by the U.S. trying to win more territory," Chung said.

He claimed Roh and Kim decided to keep their agreement confidential and that North Korea's United Front Department, which is in charge of inter-Korean affairs, shared the recording with South Korean conservatives.

Chung said the Unification Ministry and National Intelligence Service have copies of the recording.

The NLL swerves north as it extends out into the West Sea, giving South Korea control over several islands including Baeknyeong and Yeonpyeong. This has been a source of contention by North Korea.

Roh is heard to tell Kim that the South would no longer insist on the NLL and that problems surrounding it would disappear if the waters around the maritime border are turned into a joint fishing zone for the two Koreas, according to Chung.

Roh also told Kim that he was "traveling around the world and working hard as North Korea's spokesman" by spreading the view that the North had the right to nuclear arms, the lawmaker added.

But former unification minister Lee Jae-joung, who accompanied Roh to the summit, said the claims are "ludicrous" and denied such comments were made by the late president.

"Two meetings took place on Oct. 3, 2007 -- one in the morning and one in the afternoon -- but former President Roh did not make any of the comments that Chung claims were made," Lee said.

The Roh Moo-hyun Foundation also issued a statement denying secret pacts were made and calling the alleged comments "fabricated."

Saenuri Party spokesman Lee Sang-il said it would be inappropriate to comment without knowing for sure whether the recording exists or not.

englishnews@chosun.com / Oct. 09, 2012 12:24 KST