The South Korean government has hit back at the opposition, dismissing claims it moved to close its own nuclear plant earlier than scheduled in order to build one in North Korea.

“Chairman Kim’s [Kim Chong-in, South Korea’s opposition leader] remarks are absurd claims, and even if the election is ahead, it is hardly believed that the words from the opposition representatives are believable,” said government spokesman Kang Min-seok on Friday. 

“Chairman Kim should take responsibility … the government will respond, including [taking] legal measures,” Kang added.

The spokesman’s comments come after Kim Chong-in, leader of the main opposition People Power Party, lambasted Moon Jae-in’s government for allegedly planning to secretly build a nuclear power plant in North Korea.

“According to public data, the Moon Jae-in administration tried to close the South Korean nuclear power plant and build a nuclear power plant in North Korea in extreme secrecy,” Kim stated. 

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In 2018, Moon’s government decided to decommission a South Korean reactor, the Wolsong No.1, earlier than scheduled, citing feasibility studies and in line with President Moon’s pledge to phase out nuclear power. 

Last month, prosecutors indicted three energy ministry officials on charges of damaging public records, following a state auditor’s investigation.

South Korean broadcaster SBS reported that a number of documents had been recovered that suggested the government was considering building a nuclear plant in North Korea. Among the files in question were one titled “A plan to build a nuclear plant in North Korea” and another titled “Tasks for phased cooperation to establish electricity infrastructure in North Korea,” according to SBS. 

The broadcaster claimed that at least six documents were dated May 2018 – only a month after Moon held his first summit with North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.

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