U.S. Congress Takes Up Reunions of Korean Families

Four Korean War veterans in the U.S. Congress have tabled a resolution supporting reunions of Korean Americans with relatives in North Korea from whom they were separated by the Korean War.

Reps. Charles Rangel, Howard Coble, John Conyers and Sam Johnson and have submitted the resolution to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Separated families in North and South Korea are sporadically reunited after negotiations between the two sides, but Koreans who emigrated to the U.S. have been excluded because Washington and Pyongyang have no formal diplomatic ties. In 2001, an estimated 100,000 Korean Americans had long-lost relatives in North Korea, but many have since died and the others are still waiting for action, the lawmakers said.

From left, Reps. Charles Rangel, John Conyers, Sam Johnson and Howard Coble From left, Reps. Charles Rangel, John Conyers, Sam Johnson and Howard Coble

They urged both houses of Congress to pass the resolution, which calls on North Korean authorities to include Korean Americans in the reunions as a way of promoting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The two Koreas remain technically at war since the 1953 armistice halted fighting.

Early last month, the four lawmakers made the same call in a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent through North Korea's UN mission.

The four have been active in matters surrounding the Korean War, persuading Congress to designate 2012-2013 as the Year of the Korean War Veteran and calling for a memorial wall honoring the war dead.

englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 10, 2014 11:06 KST