Dogs given to South Korea by Kim Jong-un at centre of political row

South Korea’s former president Moon Jae-in has said he plans to give up a pair of dogs sent by the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, as a gift after their 2018 summit, citing a lack of support from his successor.

Moon has raised the white Pungsan dogs, named Gomi and Songgang, since their arrival and took them to his personal residence after his term ended in May.

The dogs are legally categorised as state property belonging to the presidential archives, but Moon’s office said he was entrusted as their caretaker after consultations with the archives and the interior ministry, in an unprecedented decision.

The agencies had sought a legislative amendment to facilitate the move, including financial support. But that effort fell apart due to “unexplained opposition” from the administration of the incumbent president, Yoon Suk-yeol, Moon’s office said.

“The presidential office seems to be negative toward entrusting the management of the Pungsan dogs to former President Moon,” Moon’s office said on Facebook.

“If that’s the case, we can be cool about it, as such an entrustment is based on the goodwill of both sides … though ending it is regretful given they are companion animals he grew attached to.”

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

The Chosun Ilbo daily newspaper reported earlier on Monday, citing unnamed government and parliamentary officials, that there was a debate over whether to provide Moon with monthly subsidies totalling 2.5m won (£1,565).

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

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An official at the ministry of government legislation said it had not opposed the idea and the discussions were continuing.


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