In South Korea a pair of canines presented by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in 2018 have sparked a political spat with the nation’s former president accusing his conservative replacement of a lack of financial assistance as he surrendered the pets.

Controversy Surrounding Dogs

Moon Jae-in, a liberal who left government in May, got two white “Pungsan” hunting canines from Kim during their September 2018 peace meeting in the city of Pyongyang in North Korea

Who Let the Dogs Out?

Technically, the dogs are government property, but Moon brought the pair and one of their seven puppies with him when he left office.

A modification to the law in March made the transfer possible, allowing animals and plants given as presidential presents to be maintained beyond the Presidential Archives.

However, Moon’s office reported on Monday that he determined that he could no longer care for the three canines since the administration of President Yoon Suk Yeol refused to pay for their food and medical care.

The Ministry of the Interior and Safety reported that the canines were surrendered to the state on Tuesday and that the mother and father dogs from Kim were being evaluated at a vet clinic in Daegu.

In a Facebook message, Moon’s office blamed Yoon’s office of “inexplicably” obstructing the ministry’s plan to provide funding for the dog’s care.

Big Money At Stake

The ministry stated that it had created a financial plan to offer monthly payments totaling 2.5 million won ($1,810), including 500,000 won ($360) for the canines’ food and vet services and 2 million won ($1,450) for the hire of employees to tend to them.

However, the ministry stated that the preparations were delayed for several months due to unnamed “opposing perspectives” inside the department and the Ministry of Government Legislation.

Moon’s office stated that it appeared that the office of the president, however unlike the Presidential Archives and the Interior and Safety Ministry, has an unfavorable opinion of leaving former President Moon with the custody of the Pungsan dogs.

Moon’s office stated that Yoon’s administration should be “calm” about terminating this trust if this is the case.

There would be sadness and grief, since Moon had grown close to these companion creatures, but there was no option to deny the cessation of entrustment, the office went on to state.

Moon Chooses To Surrender Dogs

The office of Yoon transferred the responsibility to Moon, claiming that it never barred him from adopting the pets and that conversations over monetary assistance were underway.

Yoon’s administration stated that it was the ultimate choice of previous President Moon Jae-in to surrender the Pungsan canines to the Presidential Archives rather than await a legislative change to guarantee the subsidy.

The dispute between Moon and Yoon over the animals generated internet outrage, with some regretting that the pets were being regarded as mere possessions.