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Song claims Moon camp threatened him via text

Apr 26,2017
Former Foreign Affairs Minister Song Min-soon said Tuesday he had recently been blackmailed by an official from Moon Jae-in’s Democratic Party campaign after accusing the candidate of seeking Pyongyang’s opinion before Seoul abstained from a 2007 United Nations resolution on North Korean human rights violations.

In a Tuesday morning radio interview with CBS, the ex-minister said he received a text message from Moon’s aide saying that he “will not be forgiven” and that the campaign team will make sure he will “be paid back severalfold.”

Song refused to disclose any names. When asked by the host whether the person was in “a position of responsibility” in the campaign, he replied: “To some degree, yes.”

Jun Byung-hun, who heads the strategic committee of Moon’s campaign, urged Song to reveal the source’s name during a press conference later on Tuesday, saying not doing so would be proof he was waging a smear campaign.

The CBS interview was held a day after Moon, the top presidential contender for the May 9 election, sued Song on charges of libel, slander and leaking state secrets. Song, who since 2015 served as president of the University of North Korea Studies in Jongno District, central Seoul, tendered his resignation on Monday, saying he felt “uncomfortable” because the institute was becoming mired in the political drama.

The conflict began last Thursday during an exclusive interview with the JoongAng Ilbo, when Song disclosed a Blue House document purportedly showing Pyongyang’s opinion on how Seoul should vote on the UN resolution. Song said Moon was a pivotal force behind Seoul’s effort to seek Pyongyang’s advice before the vote, but has been lying about his involvement and the fact that the two governments secretly discussed the South’s decision.

Over the weekend, Moon admitted Seoul reached out to Pyongyang before the vote, but said it was to announce that the South Korean government had reached an internal agreement to abstain. Song denied this, saying Seoul confirmed its abstention only after Pyongyang pushed it to do so.

Regarding why he decided to come forward now, just days before the election, Song said he wanted to protect the credibility of his memoir, “A Glacier Moves,” published last October, which contains the same accusation but did not show any Blue House documents.

“In several TV shows, Moon Jae-in stressed that my book was fundamentally erroneous,” Song said in the CBS interview Tuesday. “But when others go off claiming their books are wrong, authors just can’t turn a blind eye to the situation. As the author of this book, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to prove that it’s true.”

When asked whether he was planning to disclose any further documents to back up his claim, Song said, “When Obama was accused of not being born in the United States, he showed his own birth certificate only to have people claim it was fake.” He added, “It won’t matter what I reveal next because [Moon] keeps denying the truth.”

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]