Moon to part with 2 dogs gifted from N. Korea

SEOUL-- The fate of two dogs given to President Moon Jae-in by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as a gift in 2018 has drawn public interest, as they are barred by law from staying with Moon after his retirement slated for May 9.

The North's leader sent the pair of Pungsan-breed dogs, one male named Songkang and a female named Gomi, to Moon after their third summit in Pyongyang in September 2018.

According to Cheong Wa Dae officials Wednesday, Songkang and Gomi cannot go to Moon's private residence after his retirement, because he received them as head of state rather than as an individual.

Moon plans to spend his retirement in South Gyeongsang Province's Yangsan, 420 kilometers southeast of Seoul, after leaving Cheong Wa Dae.

The officials said the two North Korean dogs can be distributed to public institutions or handed over to the incoming president, Yoon Suk-yeol.

But it is still unknown whether Yoon, who currently lives with four dogs and three cats, will be able to raise two additional dogs from Moon, they said.

In this regard, Yoon casually mentioned the matter in his tea meeting with reporters on the day, saying, "Dogs should be kept by the owner who raised them. But if they are given to me, I'll raise them well."

Moon has his own Pungsan dog Maru, an adopted dog and a cat, and they are all expected to live in the Yangsan residence after his retirement.

The Pungsan breed originates in a mountainous region of the North. They are known to be agile, clever and ferocious to beasts, but friendly and loyal to their human masters.

In July last year, Gomi gave birth to seven puppies, sired by Maru, and they have all been adopted by local governments nationwide.

In 2000, North Korea presented a pair of Pungsan dogs to then President Kim Dae-jung, and they died of natural causes in April and October, respectively, in 2013, after being exhibited at Seoul Grand Park.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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