Moon and Yoon in political dogfight

Moon and Yoon in political dogfight

Published: Less than 20 min ago

full screen Former South Korean President Moon Jae-In with one of the dogs he was given by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. The dog in the picture is called Gomi. The pungsan dog breed is a native North Korean breed. Archive image. Photo: South Korea’s presidential residence Blue House/AP/TT

After a summit in Pyongyang in 2018, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un gave two dogs of the pungsan breed to the then president of South Korea, Moon Jae-In.

Now the dogs have become the subject of a political row between Moon and incumbent President Yoon Suk-Yeol.

The dogs are officially considered state property, but Moon took the pair he was given by Kim Jong-Un, and one of their seven puppies, home when he left the presidential palace in May. It was made possible after a change in the law on gifts to presidents in the form of plants and animals.

On Monday, however, Moon’s office announced that he can no longer take care of the dogs because, according to him, the current government refuses to pay for food and veterinary care and salaries for people who are supposed to take care of the animals.

“It appears that the Office of the President, unlike the Presidential Archives and the Department of the Interior, has a negative view of entrusting the care of the pungsan dogs to former President Moon,” Moon’s office writes, adding that it is disappointing because Moon has taken a liking to the dogs.

The Presidential Archives saves documents and other materials from the President’s Office for the future.

The dogs have been returned to the government on Tuesday, according to the Ministry of the Interior, which states that there is a budget plan for the dogs, which has, however, been put on hold.

According to Yoon’s office, it is entirely Moon’s decision to return the pungsan dogs to the presidential archives rather than wait for the ongoing financial support discussions.