House passes resolution urging N. Korea to allow family reunions for Korean Americans

December 2, 2016

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) — The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a resolution urging North Korea to allow Korean Americans to hold reunions with their long-separated family members in the communist nation.

The resolution (H.Con.Res.40), introduced last year by Reps. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Ed Royce (R-CA), passed through the House on Tuesday, according to congressional records. The bipartisan resolution was co-sponsored by 157 House members.

The resolution calls for Pyongyang to allow Korean Americans to meet with their family members separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. It also calls on the North to take concrete steps to build goodwill conducive to peace on the Korean Peninsula.

After the House passage, the resolution was sent to the Senate for approval.

“This resolution lays the foundation for divided family members to meet their loved ones whom they have not been able to see for over six decades,” Rangel, a Korean War veteran, said in a statement.

“I could never imagine being unable to see my brother or daughter for that length of time. These Americans have every right to see their loved ones and it is our duty to help them by encouraging reunions,” he said.

Royce said before Tuesday’s vote that time is running out for such reunions.

“The average Korean separated by the war was 80 years old. A large number are over 90. It is far past time that these war-torn families be given one last opportunity to reunite with family members they were separated from six decades ago. It is everyone’s hope, of course, that the Korean Peninsula will be reunified,” he said.

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)