N. Korea Accuses Saenuri Party of 'Politically Motivated Terrorist Attack'
SEOUL, Oct. 24 (Yonhap) -- North Korea said Monday that South Korea did not consult with Pyongyang before it decided to abstain from the U.N. vote on the North's human rights in 2007, in its first reaction to a memoir by a former top South Korean diplomat.
North Korea's committee on inter-Korean affairs said the South Korean conservative ruling party is carrying out a "politically motivated terrorist act" by branding the main liberal opposition party as North Korean sympathizers.
"At that time, the south side had neither suggested any opinion nor informed the north side of its stand to abstain from voting for the adoption of the resolution on human rights," a committee spokesman was quoted as saying by the Korean Central News Agency.
Controversy erupted in the South Korean political arena when Song Min-soon, a former foreign minister, said in his recently published memoir that Seoul had sought Pyongyang's opinion before it decided to abstain from the U.N. vote during the administration of late former president Roh Moo-hyun.
Song claimed that Moon Jae-in, former head of the opposition Minjoo Party of Korea (MPK), was allegedly involved in the process. Moon, then presidential chief of staff, was a close aide to Roh and is one of the leading contenders for the presidential election slated for late 2017.
The KCNA said that the ruling Saenuri Party should be condemned for branding the MPK as "forces following the North," and cooking up the story that Roh had secret communications with Pyongyang.
"This is just a despicable smear campaign to create an environment favorable for their stay in power in the presidential election next year," the report said.
Seoul's unification ministry said that the North's statement is a unilateral claim that intends to spark tension among South Koreans.
"North Korea appears to want to drive a wedge between South Koreans. The North should immediately suspend its anachronistic act," Jeong Joon-hee, ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing.
Saenuri said the latest statement by Pyongyang is apparently aimed at "saving" Moon, adding the former main opposition leader must tell the truth.
"The memoir, diplomatic records of the U.S. Embassy in South Korea, and other reports made around that time are against Moon," Rep. Chung Jin-suk, the floor leader of Saenuri, said. "Even Moon's side is admitting there was some sort of contact with North Korea. This proves the (North's) statement is false."
"Moon should stop providing 'pathetic' excuses that he does not remember what happened, and reveal the truth in front of the people," Chung added.
Moon had described Saenuri as "pathetic" last week, adding it should focus on other urgent matters instead of engaging in ideological mud-slinging.
In response to the latest statement from Pyongyang, Moon urged the North to refrain from trying to get involved in South Korean politics.
Rep. Kim Kyung-soo of the Democratic Party, formerly the MPK, who is considered a spokesperson for Moon, said the former head warned Pyongyang that the issue is "our problem," adding that Saenuri should be held responsible for fueling the controversy.'