South Korea’s former leader plans to ditch North Korea’s Kim’s dogs
By Hyunhee Shin
SEOUL, (Reuters) – Former South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Monday he plans to ditch a pair of dogs sent as a gift by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after the 2018 summit, citing his successor’s lack of support.
Moon has raised white pungsan dogs named “Gomi” and “Songgang” since their arrival in the South and took them to his private residence after his term ended in May.
The dogs are legally classified as government property belonging to the presidential archives, but Moon’s office said he was entrusted with their custody after consultations with the archives and the interior ministry, an unprecedented decision.
The agencies had sought a legislative change to facilitate the move, including financial support. But those efforts were thwarted by “inexplicable opposition” from the administration of incumbent President Yoon Suk-yeol, Moon’s office said.
“The Office of the President appears to be reluctant to entrust the management of the poongsan dogs to former President Moon,” Moon’s office said on Facebook.
“If that’s the case, we can take it cool because such a trust is based on the good will of both parties… though it’s a sad ending because they’re the companion animals he’s bonded with.”
Yoon’s office denied the move failed, saying the agencies were still discussing it and it played no role.
The Chosun Ilbo daily reported earlier on Monday, citing unnamed government and parliamentary officials, that there had been discussions about whether to give Moon subsidies of around 2.5 million won ($1,800) a month.
The Interior Department, which oversees presidential archives, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
An official from the government’s legislation ministry said they are not opposed to the idea and discussions are ongoing.
($1 = 1401.8300 won)
(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin Editing by Lincoln Feast)
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