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Rangel And Korean War Vet Members In Congress Urge DPRK To Reunite Families, Including Kenneth Bae's

Feb 6, 2014 Issues: Foreign Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C.In response to North Korea's willingness to resume family reunions, Congressman Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), a decorated Korean War veteran and author of legislation encouraging peace and reunification on the Korean Peninsula, together with Reps. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Sam Johnson (R-TX), and Howard Coble (R-NC) ), who together serve as the four remaining Korean War Veterans in the U.S. Congress, sent a letter to Kim Jong-un to encourage making progress on the humanitarian front. Rangel and his comrades in Congress also urged Kim to allow some 100,000 Korean-Americans to meet with their divided families in the DPRK, as well as to release Kenneth Bae so he can reunite with his family.

Below is the full text of the signed joint letter:

"We, the last four remaining Members of the United States Congress who have served in the Korean War, applaud your willingness to reunite hundreds and thousands of families who have been torn apart for more than six decades since the division of the peninsula.

Nothing is more tragic than the separation of families and loved ones. We encourage you to also create a pathway to allow some 100,000 Korean-Americans to meet with their divided families in the DPRK before too many pass away.

You have done the right thing by releasing a fellow Korean War veteran, Merrill E. Newman, to return home; you would be making further progress on the humanitarian front by freeing Kenneth Bae to reunite with his family. We believe that taking actions to build good will and trust with the international community are crucial steps toward reconciliation.

As Korean War veterans who are original sponsors of H.Con.Res. 41, resolution encouraging peace and reunification on the Korean Peninsula, we hope for ourselves and many of our comrades worldwide to see a united Korea in our lifetime."

Rangel previously sent an open letter on Nov. 27, 2013, to Kim Jong-un, calling for the release of Korean War veteran, Merrill E. Newman, who has been detained in DPRK for more than a month; he recently brought Kenneth Bae's family to the President’s State of the Union address to reiterate his repeated calls for Bae's release.

 

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Congressman Charles B. Rangel is a decorated Korean War veteran who earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his service in the U.S. Army during the Battle of Kunu-ri, where he led a group of soldiers out of a deadly Chinese Army encirclement after being almost left for dead on November 30, 1950. The title of his autobiography, "And I Haven't Had a Bad Day Since" refers to this day. Congressman Rangel, who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1971, currently represents New York's 13th Congressional District, which include Upper Manhattan and parts of The Bronx. In Congress, he has been a champion advocate for Korean War veterans and U.S.-Korea relations.

*Sponsored H.CON.RES.41 -Encouraging peace and reunification on the Korean Peninsula (Passed unanimously in House and Senate - August 1, 2013)
*Sponsored H.Res. 618 - Expressing support for designation of 2012-2013 as the "Year of the Korean War Veteran" (Passed 2012)
*Sponsored H. Res 376 - Calling for Repatriation of POW/MIAs and Abductees in North Korea (Passed unanimously by Congress in December 2011)
*Sponsored H.J.Res.86 - Recognizing the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War and Reaffirming U.S.-Korea Alliance (Passed in 2010)
*Sponsored H.R. 2632 - Korean War Veterans Recognition Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-41)
*Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee -- during the ratification of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (aka KORUS FTA) in 2007, and led its passage.