(ATTN; UPDATES with details of President Yoon's letter in last 4 paras)
By Kim Han-joo
SEOUL, June 29 (Yonhap) -- The brother of a fisheries official killed by North Korea in 2020 claimed Wednesday the then ruling Democratic Party (DP) offered to give the family financial compensation if they acknowledged his brother attempted to defect to the North.
After President Yoon Suk-yeol took office last month, the Coast Guard and the defense ministry revisited the case and overturned their previous conclusion on the alleged defection attempt of the late fisheries official Lee Dae-jin. He was shot and killed by North Korea's military near the western sea border on Sept. 22, 2020,
"The DP had told me they would give us compensation if we acknowledged defection," Lee Rae-jin said in a Facebook post. "But I rejected it flatly and told them my brother did not (try to) defect. I do not need that money, and I will restore my brother's honor and reveal the truth."
The late official's family has demanded access to classified presidential documents to determine why the previous Moon Jae-in government announced, without sufficient evidence, that their loved one was shot and killed while attempting to defect to the North.
The Presidential Archive has rejected the family's demand for access to classified documents.
Presidential documents are sealed for up to 30 years from the end of presidencies, with a legal exception for their disclosure if they are considered vital evidence in an investigation. The documents can be opened upon parliamentary approval from two-thirds of lawmakers or a warrant issued by a high court in the jurisdiction.
President Yoon apologized for the mishap in a letter sent to the son of the late official.
"I am sincerely ashamed and sorry about the fact that the nation inflicted deep wounds on the family that cannot be washed away, despite one giant step having been taken in an effort to reveal the truth," according to the letter revealed by Lee's family.
The letter was written on June 22, in response to a letter from the son, the family said.
Earlier, Yoon suggested that his administration could disclose more information about the death, saying that the government should do all it can to address suspicions people have.
BTS fails to win Grammy for 3rd consecutive year
(LEAD) 1st S. Korean state compensation ordered for victim of Vietnam War mass killings
Jay Park's Won Soju to be sold in U.S.
(2nd LD) Search under way for 9 missing after fishing boat capsizes
(LEAD) Ahn calls off campaigning activities amid row with Yoon's office
Injured Wolves forward Hwang Hee-chan to undergo treatment in S. Korea
Ex-gov't employee summarily indicted for alleged attempt to sell Jungkook's lost hat
S. Korea opens metaverse platform for Korean-language learning
Pirates' Choi Ji-man says 'deeply hurt' to be dropped from WBC team
Singer Lee Seung-gi to marry actor Lee Da-in in April