AMERICAN SAMOA’S FALEOMAVAEGA SPEAKS IN SUPPORT OF RESOLUTION REGARDING EFFORTS TO UNITE KOREAN AMERICANS WITH FAMILY MEMBERS IN NORTH KOREA

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CONGRESSMAN ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA American Samoa U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

NEWS RELEASE December 10, 2001

AMERICAN SAMOA’S FALEOMAVAEGA SPEAKS IN SUPPORT OF RESOLUTION REGARDING EFFORTS TO UNITE KOREAN AMERICANS WITH FAMILY MEMBERS IN NORTH KOREA

Congressman Eni F.H. Faleomavaega announced today that he addressed the U.S. House of Representatives in support of a resolution expressing the sense of Congress regarding efforts to unite the people of Korean ancestry in the United States with family members in North Korea.

"Mr. Speaker, as a cosponsor of House Concurrent Resolution 77, I am honored to rise in support of this important measure which urges our government to support efforts to reunite Korean Americans with their families in North Korea," said Faleomavaega.

The Congressman continued, "As many of you know, our relations with North Korea are crucial as the Korean Peninsula has long been one of the most dangerous flash points in the world. The United States currently has over 37,000 military personnel stationed in South Korea, with many of them patrolling the demilitarized zone.

"As one who served in the military in Vietnam, Mr. Speaker, I can never forget the presence of thousands of South Korean soldiers who fought side by side with us. I might submit that, in time of crisis, we know who our real friends are. I want to say to the leaders and the people of South Korea, for supporting us during the Vietnam War, I say, kam-sa-ham-ne-da (thank you)," he noted.

The Congressman continued by recognizing the stresses that decades-long separations place on family members.

"Mr. Speaker, since the Korean War, millions of Koreans have had their families separated and torn asunder with the division of North Korea and South Korea. After almost some 50 years, the tragedy of family separation continues, impacting more than 500,000 Korean Americans who have been denied contact with their loved ones in North Korea."

"At a time when the administration has reviewed its policy to urge North Korea to improve implementation of the agreed framework on nuclear activities, verify constraints on North Korea's missile program and exports, and to adopt a less-threatening conventional military posture, we should also follow up [on] South Korea President Kim's sunshine policy," Faleomavaega said.

After commenting on last year's historic summit meeting and joint declarations between the leaders of South Korea and North Korea, and the limited reunions between long-separated Korean family members which resulted from the summit, the Congressman concluded by saying, "We need to build on this progress, and we can only do so by adoption of this measure. Establishing ties and reuniting Americans of Korean ancestry with their relatives in North Korea addresses a humanitarian goal and, more importantly, could play a meaningful role in helping to open up North Korea while reducing tensions in the Korean peninsula."

Anyone wishing to see the complete text of the Congressman's statement can view it from a link on the home page of his web site at http://www.house.gov/faleomavaega/, or through the Library of Congress's legislative web site at http://thomas.loc.gov/, by entering House Con Res 77 in the bill number search field, selecting "references to the Congressional Record," and clicking on the November 27th link with the title of the resolution.

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