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Congresswoman Grace Meng

Representing the 6th District of New York

Meng: Mr. President, Make Family Reunions for Divided Korean American Families a Priority!

Feb 22, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) sent a letter to President Trump urging him to prioritize reuniting Korean American families with their relatives in North Korea. The letter comes before the second U.S.-North Korea Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam on February 27-28, 2019.

Last year, Meng sent a similar letter to President Trump urging him to help Korean American families reunite with families in North Korea. A copy of that correspondence can be viewed here.

There is an estimated 100,000 Americans who—since the end of the Korean War—have been unable to meet their loved ones in North Korea. With many of these Americans in their 70s – 90s, Meng’s letter urges President Trump to make this issue a top humanitarian priority for his administration’s negotiations with North Korea.

“The Trump Administration must use every opportunity when they meet with North Koreans to stress the importance of helping reunite American families with their relatives in North Korea,” said Meng. “Last October, I urged President Trump to do just that, but have not received a response on this critical issue. Time is running out for Americans with families in North Korea, and I urge President Trump to prioritize this humanitarian issue.”

The text of Meng’s letter is below, and a copy of the correspondence can be viewed here

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February 22, 2019

 

Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20502

 

Dear President Trump:

            I write again to urge you to prioritize reuniting Korean American families with their loved ones in North Korea when you meet Chairman Kim Jong-un at the second U.S.-North Korea Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam on February 27-28, 2019. While your administration works toward the goal of a final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea, it is imperative that you also prioritize helping these families.

            In my previous correspondence to you last October, I urged you to make this issue a top priority in your negotiations with North Korea; I have not received a response. As you may know, there are an estimated 100,000 Americans who, since end of the Korean War, have been separated from their families in North Korea. While South Korea and North Korea have held 21 family reunions since 2000, for the Americans in our nation – there is no pathway for such reunions. Many of these Americans are in their 70s – 90s, and time is of the essence to be reunited with their families.

            Additionally, last month, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun spoke of the challenges and opportunities concerning your administration’s approach to North Korea at Stanford University. I am discouraged that Mr. Biegun’s speech omitted any reference to helping divided Korean American families. During your upcoming meeting with Chairman Kim, and in your administration’s continued engagement with North Korea, I urge you to make divided Korean American families a top humanitarian priority.

            Thank you for your attention to this matter and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

 

_________________________________
Grace Meng
Member of Congress