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Bill Directs State Department to Make Korean American Family Reunification a Top Priority

North South Korean border
Guards at North South Korean border

By Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent


A bill introduced in the Senate would direct the State Department to prioritize efforts making family reunions a reality for Korean Americans separated from loved ones in North Korea, reports The Korea Herald.

Introduced by Sens. Mark Kirk and Mark Warner, the bill also calls for a regular mechanism to enhance communication between separated Korean American families and the State Department.

“A lack of diplomatic relations should not stand in the way of reuniting Koreans who were separated from their families more than 60 years ago. There are tens of thousands of Koreans, many of whom living in the United States, who are still waiting to be reunited with their loved ones,” Sen. Warner said. “This bill will encourage the State Department to prioritize opening up this opportunity to Korean Americans by requiring discussion during bilateral negotiations with South Korea. These families have waited long enough.”

More than 100,000 Korean Americans are believed to have loved ones in the North.

“Time is running out for these reunifications to happen and more families will have no knowledge of their loved ones’ whereabouts,” Sen. Kirk said. “We need to make sure that there is an official channel to assist in the reunification of Korean Americans. This bipartisan bill gives a voice and hope to the thousands of families seeking reunification.”


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