A South Korean official yesterday ruled out the idea of resolving this country's dispute with Congress by having former ambassador Kim Dong Jo answer questions about alleged bribery in some neutral third country.
The official said such a plan would be "unacceptable" to his government.
The high-ranking Foreign Ministry official went further to say that any compromise plan requiring Kim to testify under oath would not be accepted by the government.
Leon Jaworski, the chief House investigator on the Korean case, has proposed interrogation in a neutral country as one solution to the impasse over Kim's testimony. But Jaworski has said he will not compromise on his demand that Kim be questioned under oath.
The South Korean official also rejected the idea, often rumored as a possibility here, of making the former ambassador available for questioning in the U.S. Embassay.
The official's statements in an interview here reflected the government's official, public hard-line policy of rejecting all the alternatives discussed so far for settling the dispute.
On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to threaten to cut off economic aid unless South Korea makes Kim available for questioning about reports that he gave congressmen envelopes containing hundred-dollar bills.
Kim, now an adviser to President Park Chung Hee, has denied the allegations but has refused to testify in Washington on grounds of diplomatic immunity.
Meanwhile, the government put out a broadside of criticism against Congress that contained some of the toughest language used so far in the long argument with Washington over the influence-buying scandal.
An editorial in the government-owned Korea Herald denounced the House measure as a "blackmail-type resolution."
"By approving this ill-advised resolution, the United States has told the world that it is prepared to use non-military aid to blackmail one of its traditional allies into submitting to its misdirected request," the editorial said.
It also said the resolution might lead North Korea to assume that the U.S. commitment to South Korea is eroding.
Despite the rough language and rejection of possible compromises mentioned so far, the government kept a door open by stressing that it wants to compromise in some fashion with Congress. The government once had taken the position it would never require South Korean businessman Tongsun Park to testify in Washington. He is now there for a second round of testimony in his own role in giving money to congressmen.
The Foreign Ministry official said yesterday there may be some way of satisfying Congress without infringing on the principle of diplomatic immunity.He said, however, that he could not think of any, and insisted that the next move toward a solution must come from Washington.
He said South Korea views the possibility of losing economic aid money with "minimal" concern. It involves money loaned for purchase of U.S. farm commodities under the Food for Peace program.
The official also hinted that a move might develop among South Koreans to stop buying other agricultural commodities.
This country buys more than a billion dollars worth of wheat, soy beans and other commodities in cash each year from the United States. The official quickly said he does not know of any organized move to boycott U.S. sales in retaliation for the pressure on Kim Dong Jo.