World Bulletin / News Desk
While today’s conservative government maintains a tough position against the North’s reported abuse of its people through torture and prison camps, a book published by ex-Foreign Minister Song Min-soon last week raised serious questions about a very different attitude towards Pyongyang during the early 2000s.
“If [the allegations are] true, they are very grave, serious and shocking,” presidential spokesman Jung Youn-kuk was quoted as telling reporters by local news agency Yonhap.
The idea that South Korea might have consulted with Pyongyang before choosing not to vote on the UN resolution in question has also placed intense pressure on presidential hopeful Moon Jae-in -- who served as late former President Roh’s chief of staff.
Moon lost out in the 2012 election to current President Park Geun-hye, having been accused of a soft stance on North Korea.
But until this latest furor, polls suggested he was the best hope for the liberal opposition Minjoo Party of Korea (MPK) ahead of next year’s presidential vote.
The MPK insists there was no reason to consult with North Korea before deciding to abstain -- the conservative Saenuri Party has hit back by urging Moon to take legal action if Song’s memoir is inaccurate.
Attitudes towards the North are hugely important in the South, where a security law forbids even praising Pyongyang’s authoritarian regime.
The Koreas are still technically in a state of conflict as they never signed a peace treaty after the 1950-53 Korean War.