Conflicts & War

South Korean publisher faces probe for selling North founder Kim’s memoirs

Seoul, Apr 22 (EFE).- South Korea is investigating the publication of memoirs of North Korea’s founder Kim Il-sung without necessary government permission that may have violated the national security law, an official told EFE Thursday.

South Korean publishing house Minjok Sarangbang Wednesday announced an online sale of the eight volumes of Kim’s memoirs, titled “With the Century,” originally published in North Korea in 1992.

The books have been translated into 20 languages and are available in many countries but in South Korea, which is still technically at war with its northern neighbor.

South Korea’s National Security Law prevents all imports and materials written in North Korea and linked to its regime without government authorization.

A spokesperson for the South Korean Unification Ministry, which is in charge of relations with the North, told EFE that the publication and sale of the memoirs was a business linked to trade with Pyongyang.

The head of the publishing house had in 2012 got permission to distribute “special documents” in South Korea and had another approval to receive such materials.

The ministry is now investigating whether the publisher had used that consent to import and distribute the memories of Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of the current leader Kim Jong-un.

The ministry is mulling action against the publisher, including the withdrawal of the memoirs from the market.

The South Korean Supreme Court in 2011 determined that Kim Il Sung’s memoirs “With the Century,” as an “anti-state expression” under the National Security Law.

The possession of the so-called propaganda material is banned.

A South Korean publisher unsuccessfully tried to publish the autobiography in 1994 after the death of Kim Il-sung.

The work never saw the light of the day, and the owner of the publishing house was arrested and investigated but never convicted. EFE


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