WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 10, 2016) — The U.S. Senate on Saturday passed H.Con.Res.40, a concurrent resolution* that encourages the reunion of Korean Americans with their family members in North Korea.
The Council of Korean Americans is thanking congressional leaders for codifying Congress’s strong support for Korean American divided families before adjourning the 114th Congress.
“The issue of Korean American divided families matters because it represents two things that are important to us: our families and the painful division of the land we came from,” said CKA Executive Director Sam Yoon. “Every Korean American is connected to someone who does not know if their relatives in North Korea are still alive. North Korea and the United States must address this urgent humanitarian issue before time runs out. They must establish a government-led reunion mechanism to allow families from both sides of the Pacific to connect.”
Representative Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), who introduced H.Con.Res.40, said that as a Korean War veteran who fought in the Kunuri battle almost 70 years ago, he couldn’t be more proud that his last bill to pass in Congress would give some hope to those families who have been separated by their loved ones.
“I may be retiring from Congress, but I will never stop being a friend to Koreans and an advocate for peace on the Peninsula,” Rangel said. “It is my sincere hope that the family reunions could start soon and that I will see a reunified Korea in my lifetime.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), an original cosponsor of H.Con.Res.40, said the U.S. Congress has spoken with one, unified voice.
“The North Korean regime should allow millions of families torn apart during the Korean War to be reunited,” Royce said. “A large number of these families’ members are elderly, so time is of the essence. These families deserve one last opportunity to be with loved ones they’ve not seen in 60 years.”
In 2016, the Council of Korean Americans (CKA) began lobbying the Congress on H.Con.Res.40 and engaging policymakers about this tragic issue. CKA has urged the White House, Department of State, and presidential candidates to address this longstanding issue on behalf of the Korean American community.
In June, CKA hosted a public briefing at the Brookings Institution in Washington that was widely attended.
CKA is proud to collaborate with fellow Korean American groups to advance this issue. In particular, we wish to thank Divided Families USA for their partnership and look forward to advancing this important humanitarian issue together in 2017 and beyond.
*A concurrent resolution does not require the approval of the president and is typically adopted to regulate internal affairs of the legislature. It does not have the force of law, but it is a powerful tool to educate lawmakers and the American public about an issue that affects this country.
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CKA is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of successful Korean American leaders. Our mission is to assert a strong, clear voice on issues vital to Korean Americans while helping them engage in American society to achieve meaningful success.