News in English

US House of Representatives launches bill on “reunion of separated families”

“Video reunions could be scheduled”

[MKW=Tack-Yong Kim] Democratic Congresswoman Grace Meng has proposed legislation requiring the Secretary of State and the State Department to enlist special envoy on North Korean human rights to give priority to the issue of family reunions between North and South Korea.

Representative Meng, who is from New York state, announced on January 14 that she is a member of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Brad Sherman, Karen Bass, Barbara Lee, and seven Democrats and one Republican. A total of eight people participated in the initiative.

Last year and this year, lawmakers issued several letters and resolutions calling for the reunification of the US-North Korean family, but this is the first time it has been proposed as a legally binding measure.

The bill calls for a person designated by the Secretary of State or Secretary of State to work with South Korean government officials to seek ways to reunite the US-North Korean family.

In addition, the Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights in the State Department obliged at least two consecutive years to discuss the efforts to support reunions with Korean family members in the United States.

It also included a request to the Special Rapporteur for North Korean Human Rights to submit a report on how to use the “Video reunion” of separated families within 90 days of the bill’s effective date.

Meng said in a statement on the background of the bill that “about 100,000 Koreans in the United States have been separated from their families in the North after the Korean War.”  “More than 20 family reunions were held in South and North Korea but there was no official channel to include Korean Americans in the United States”, she added.

Meng recently sent a letter to President Trump urging him to reunite the US-North Korean family two times in February, ahead of last year’s US-DPRK summit in October, but she has not yet received any response.

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