SEOUL (AFP) – South Korean President Park Geun-Hye condemned what she termed an attempt "to erase history" as she weighed in Tuesday on a murky case involving a missing inter-Korean summit transcript.
The document at the heart of what has become a heated political row, is the official record of remarks made at the 2007 summit between then South Korean president Roh Moo-Hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il.
Last year, lawmakers from Park's ruling conservative party whipped up a storm over leaks sourced to the National Intelligence Service, suggesting that Roh had offered the North a major compromise over the disputed western sea border.
In June, the NIS declassified its version of the summit talks -- a move the opposition claimed was aimed at deflecting attention from a parallel row over charges that the spy agency meddled in the 2012 presidential election.
Park won the election, beating the opposition candidate Moon Jae-In, who had served as Roh' presidential chief of staff.
As the debate intensified over what Roh actually said at the 2007 summit, the decision was taken to consult the official transcript kept in the presidential archive.
But when officials went looking, they couldn't find it -- prompting the ruling and opposition parties to trade fresh accusations of skullduggery.
Park had previously declined to comment on the case, but on Tuesday she raised the issue at a meeting with cabinet colleagues, the Yonhap news agency reported.
"The unheard-of incident of an important presidential record disappearing was an attempt to shake national discipline and erase history," the agency quoted Park as saying.
"It should have never happened," she added, without suggesting who might be responsible for the disappearance.
Her Saenuri Party has been less reticent.
"Unimaginable things are happening now," it said in a statement last month."It made us wonder if the original transcript of the inter-Korean summit was destroyed on former President Roh's order."
The opposition meanwhile continues to insist that Roh made no compromise offer on the sea border and says the entire debate has been cooked up by the NIS to relieve the pressure it is under over the charges of election meddling.
NIS agents stand accused of trying to manipulate voters online against Moon Jae-In's candidacy.