South Korea’s former President Moon Jae In said on Monday he plans to give up a pair of dogs sent by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a gift following 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 in the South and took them to his personal residence after his term ended in May.
The dogs are legally categorized as state property belonging to the presidential archives, but Moon’s office said he was entrusted as their caretaker under consultations with the archives and the interior ministry, 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 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 are still discussing and it has not played any role.
The interior ministry, which oversees the presidential archives, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
An official at the Ministry of Government Legislation said it has not opposed the idea and the discussions are ongoing.