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Rep. Young Kim Gives Floor Speech

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Young Kim (CA-40) introduced a bipartisan resolution (H.Res. 126) with Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove (CA-37) to call on the United States and North Korea to reunite Korean American divided families with immediate relatives as a humanitarian policy of immediate concern.

Rep. Kim is one of the first Korean American women to serve in Congress and serves as Chair of the Indo-Pacific Subcommittee. Last Congress, she led the same and helped introduce the Divided Families Reunification Act (H.R. 826), which became law through the NDAA.

Reps. Kim and Kamlager-Dove were joined by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Bill Foster (IL-11), Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Brad Sherman (CA-32), Michelle Steel (CA-45), Ami Bera (CA-06), Amata Radewagen (AS-At Large), Ed Case (HI-01), Jill Tokuda (HI-02), William Keating (MA-09), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Gerald Connolly (VA-11) and Jim McGovern (MA-02).

“We must continue our momentum to reunite Korean Americans with their war-torn loved ones in North Korea before it’s too late,” said Rep. Kim. “As Indo-Pacific Subcommittee Chair, I look forward to ensuring timely implementation of the Divided Families Reunification Act, and I am proud to lead this bipartisan resolution to demonstrate united support for making long-overdue reunifications for so many a reality.”

“Institutionalized family separation is a traumatizing event that reverberates across generations, histories, and countries. My heart breaks for the thousands of Koreans who have been separated from their families for nearly 70 years,” Rep. Kamlager-Dove said. “An entire generation has passed since an estimated 100,000 Korean Americans have seen or heard from their loved ones in North Korea. California’s 37th District has a significant Korean American community, and many of them have not had contact with their family members. Korean Americans have largely been left out of the process of reunification. We need to work to bring these families back together. I am proud to join this bipartisan effort to reunite divided Korean American families.”

“I am proud to help lead this bipartisan legislation calling for the reunification of Korean American families with their relatives in North Korea. While many have lost valuable time with loved ones, it is never too late to do whatever we can to make sure families can be together again. I stand ready to support our Korean American communities in the fight for reunification with their families,” said Rep. Gottheimer.

“We thank Congresswoman Kim’s unwavering support for aging war-torn families in the United States and abroad. Time and time again, the Congresswoman has presented this humanitarian crisis with the urgency and compassion it deserves, and we look forward to seeing more formal mechanisms be set for reunification,” said Wonseok Song, Executive Director, Korean American Grassroots Conference.

July 27, 2023 marks the 70th anniversary of U.S.-ROK alliance and the signing of the Korean War Armistice Agreement, which divided the Korean Peninsula into South Korea and North Korea. This resulted in the separation of more than 10,000,000 Korean family members, including some families that now live in the United States.

The South and North Korean governments have facilitated 21 reunions and 7 video reunions since they began implementing family reunions in 1985. Unfortunately, the estimated 100,000 Korean Americans with family members in North Korea have been left out of this process.

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