The South Korean government insisted yesterday that it will not turn over a former ambassador for questioning in the congressional influence-buying scandal despite a House of Representatives threat to cut off economic aid.
Government and political leaders left the door open for future negotiations with congressional committees, but at the same time asserted that any new moves toward a compromise should come from the American side.
They were reacting to a nonbinding resolution, passed overwhelmingly by the House Wednesday that threatened to cut off non-military aid to South Korea if it refuses to make the former ambassador, Kim Dong Jo, available for questioning in Washington.
House Ethics Committee counsel Leon Jaworski has said he wants to question Kim about reports he passed out packages of $100 bills to congressmen he hoped to influence in South Korea's favor.
The government maintained its position that it would violate Kim's dipplomatic immunity by requiring him to testifying in Washington, a position supported by the U.S. Department of State.
South Korean Foreign minister Park Tong Jin told reporters there would be "no change" in his government's posture. So far that has involved only a promise that the former ambassador would answer questions in a trans-Pacific telephone call to House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill, and in a subsequent letter. Jaworski has labeled this unacceptable.
In the past, rumors have circulated here that the government might make Kim available for questioning at the U.S. Embassy, but it is not known whether that idea has been formally presented as an alternative.