In 1967, the student activist moved to Germany and became a philosopher and sociology professor, whose books and newspaper columns full of sympathetic accounts of North Korea's leaders were de rigeur reading on South Korean college campuses. Two National Intelligence chiefs and a Unification Minister have claimed in national-assembly hearings that Song went further: that he became the 23rd-ranked official in the North Korean Communist Party, under the name Kim Chul Su. Defector Hwang Jang Yop, former mentor to current North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, wrote in a 1998 book that he instructed Song in North Korea's radical juche philosophy and that Song (as Kim Chul Su) attended the funeral of former leader Kim Il Sung in 1994. South Korea's opposition Grand National Party says the government can't let Song go unpunished. Fumes GNP lawmaker Chung Hyung Kun: "That would be tantamount to allowing communism in South Korea."
Song, 58, concedes that he visited North Korea 10 times for scholarly exchanges, starting in 1991 when he met Kim Il Sung. After grillings by South Korean intelligence last week, Song reportedly admitted through his lawyer that the North Koreans called him Kim Chul Su. But Song insisted that he is not the high-ranking party official who goes by the same name. Song, who says he returned to South Korea because he was homesick, spoke briefly to a gathering of friends and media on Friday, commenting cryptically: "The Song Du Yul you think you know is the real Song Du Yul."