Meng Initiatives to Strengthen U.S.-South Korea Relations Included in Key House-Passed Spending Bills

Sep 10, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, announced today that she secured provisions in key spending bills passed by the House of Representatives which advance and strengthen the U.S.-South Korea relationship.

Meng’s measures:

  • Call on the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to support good faith negotiations with South Korea that result in a fair and equitable five-year Special Measures Agreement (SMA) which is a cost-sharing pact for U.S. military personnel stationed on the Korean peninsula.
     
  • Urge State Department’s Office of North Korean Human Rights, in consultation with Korean American community organizations, to identify Korean Americans who wish to be reunited with their families in North Korea for future reunions. Last year, Meng introduced the Divided Families Reunification Act (H.R. 1771) which seeks to reunite Korean American families with loved ones in North Korea.

“The U.S. and South Korea have stood shoulder-to-shoulder since the Korean War and this critical alliance has grown from a purely military purpose to a relationship that is grounded in shared values, norms, and ideals,” said Meng. “As friends, it is imperative that we afford each other the respect and trust both sides deserve. On this front, the Trump administration has failed as it negotiates a military cost sharing agreement with South Korea. Bullying a friend is a recipe for disaster. To counter this failure, I secured two items that push the Defense and State Departments to conclude a fair and just five-year military cost sharing agreement with South Korea. I am also pleased to push State Department to identify Korean Americans who may wish to see their families in North Korea. Once we know who is interested, we can begin to lay the next steps for an eventual reunion. Together, these measures are an investment in the alliance, and in the Korean American community. I look forward to the Senate taking action on both spending bills.”

In addition to the full Appropriations Committee, Meng sits on the panel’s Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations which has oversight of State Department’s budget and policies.

Meng’s two measures passed the House as part of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. The Congresswoman’s SMA provision was also included in the Defense Appropriations Bill.

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