The former South Korean leader plans to abandon North Korean dogs Kim

by Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) – Former South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Monday he plans to give away a pair of dogs that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent as a gift after the 2018 summit, citing a lack of support from his successor.

Moon has bred white Pungsan dogs named ‘Gomi’ and ‘Songgang’ since their arrival in the south and moved them to his personal residence after his tenure expired in May.

The dogs are legally designated as state property belonging to the presidential archive, but Moon’s office said he was tasked with their care under consultations with the archive and the Home Office, an unprecedented decision.

Agencies have sought legislative amendment to facilitate movement, including financial support. But Moon’s office said the effort collapsed due to “unjustified opposition” from the administration of incumbent President Yoon Seok-yeol.

“The presidential office appears to be negative about former President Moon’s commissioning of Pongsan dogs,” Moon’s office said on Facebook.

“If that’s the case, we can be calm about it, because such a mandate depends on the goodwill of both sides…although ending it is unfortunate given that they are both companion animals that get attached to it.”

Yoon’s office denied the move was foiled, saying the agencies were still discussing and had not played any role.

The Chosun Ilbo daily reported earlier on Monday, citing unnamed government and parliament officials, that there is a debate over whether to provide monthly subsidies for Moon totaling about 2.5 million won ($1,800).

The Interior Ministry, which oversees the presidential archives, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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An official at the government’s Ministry of Legislation said he did not oppose the idea and discussions were continuing.

(1 dollar = 1401.8300 won)

(Reporting by Hyunhye Shin; Editing by Lincoln Fest)

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