Ex-SK Leader Giving Up Kim Jong Un's Gifts

Moon Jae-in is embroiled in odd row over Pungsan dogs—not with Kim, but with SK government
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2022 7:33 AM CST
Ex-SK Leader Giving Up Kim Jong Un's Gifts
In this photo provided in October 2018, South Korean President Moon Jae-in pets Gomi in Seoul, South Korea.   (South Korea Presidential Blue House via AP, File)

In May, Moon Jae-in left office in South Korea, taking his two dogs, Gomi and Songgang, with him. Now, he's giving up the pair of Pungsan pups, a gift from Kim Jong Un, in an odd row not with Kim, but with the current Seoul government. The BBC notes that North Korea's leader bestowed the dogs upon Moon after a 2018 peace summit, and that even though they're technically property of the state, Moon reportedly struck a deal with his nation's Interior Ministry and presidential archives to remain their guardian after he moved into civilian life.

Apparently, integral to the agreement, which both the BBC and Guardian call "unprecedented," was that South Korea would fork over the estimated $1,800 a month to pay for the dogs' expenses. Now, Moon says the deal has crumbled due to "unexplained opposition" from South Korea's current president, Yoon Suk-yeol. "Unlike the Presidential Archives and the Ministry of Interior, Presidential Office seems to be against leaving care of the Pungsan dogs to former President Moon," a statement from Moon's office notes, per CNN.

"We are flabbergasted to see malice of the current administration that is on display at a petty issue as this," the statement adds. Yoon's people are pushing back, noting that Yoon already has four dogs and three cats himself, suggesting he'd be glad to have Moon take Gomi and Songgang off his hands. "It is not true that former President Moon Jae-in tried to come up with a basis for raising the Pungsan dogs but the presidential office objected," a statement from Yoon's office asserted. The statement adds that all involved ministries are still deep in discussions on the matter. (More Moon Jae-in stories.)

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