SEOUL, Feb. 16 (Xinhuanet) -- A South Korean business group's leader Sunday confirmed that the group had sent a total of nearly 500 million US dollars to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 2000 in return for economic exclusive rights on joint projects.
Chung Mong-hun, chairman of the Hyundai Group which is engagingin many inter-Korean communication projects, disclosed these in a news conference at Hyundai's Mount Geumgang Condominium in Goseong,about 400 kilometers northeast of Seoul, in Gangwon Province.
He also confirmed that "it's true the remittance partly served to promote the summit," which in an apparent reference to the inter-Korean summit between South Korean incumbent President Kim Dae-jung and DPRK top leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang in mid-June 2000.
Chung's announcement came after the outgoing President Kim Dae-jung Friday's apology for the controversy surrounding the Hyundai Group's secret money to the DPRK in which he denied the sayings that the fund was used to buy the summit talks.
Moreover, the businessman acknowledged that the South Korean government not only tolerated Hyundai's secret money transfer but also had "deep involvement" in that time.
Kim Dae-jung's special security aide Lim Dong-won Friday also admitted to the South Korean people that the National IntelligenceService (NIS), which was then under his leadership, had arranged the Korea Exchange Bank to provide Hyundai with foreign exchange services needed for the payment to the DPRK.
Although Chung appealed to the South Korean people for forgiveness, he explained that his group sent this sum of money secretly in order to avoid "unnecessary competition" with foreign investors who had shown much interest in the DPRK's businesses.
The news conference was held after Chung returned from a pilot overland tour of the DPRK's Mount Geumgang Sunday afternoon.
The Hyundai Group is a large business group which sets foot in fields of auto, marine, construction, electronics, and steel.