Oct.7,2011 - Effort to Pass Resolution in USA
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2014-01-14 13:36:07  |  Hit 1226

President Lee Mi-il of KWAFU (front) poses for a commemorative photo with Rep. Dan Burton (back center), Co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Korea, at a meeting of Members of Congress who are supporters of Korea.

Need to make effort to pass the resolution on the abductee issue in the US Congress

Dong-A Daily
Oct. 7, 2011

KWAFU president Lee Mi-il strives to persuade the US members of Congress

“If the US, a party directly involved in the Armistice Talks for the Korean War, takes more proactive approach toward the issue of abduction, it would be very helpful in letting the world know about North Korea’s war crime of abduction.”

Lee Mi-il, president of the Korean War Abductees’ Family Union (KWAFU), visited the US to push for the introduction of a resolution - Calling for Repatriation of POW/MIAs and Abductees in North Korea, proposed in the US Congress in July. Lee Mi-il (61) said in an interview with Dong-A Daily on the 5th that she came all the way to the US to meet members of Congress in person and persuade them to pass the resolution.

She said, “With the lead of the Congressman Charles Rangel (New York, Democrat), the resolution has been proposed, but no progress has been made due to the busy schedule of the US Congress. I am meeting a number of members of Congress in person to help gather 25needed to introduce the resolution.”

Lee Mi-il arrived in Washington on the 1st and plans to stay until the 14th, meeting an average of two or three members of Congress a day to explain the issue of the abductees and ask them to actively participate in the introduction of the resolution.

She aims to find 15 members of Congress who are willing to be joint proposers of the resolution. Lee is 135cm in height and has a spinal disability. She said, “It is physically challenging for me to visit members of Congress in an unfamiliar place. However, it is important for the US, which participated in the Armistice Talks, to pass a resolution on the issue of abductees in its own Congress.”

KWAFU President said, “The US was well aware of the issue of abductees during the Armistice Talks, but did not raise the issue because it wanted to end the war as soon as possible. I hope that more US members of Congress give support to this resolution, which requires the involvement of the ROK and US governments, so that North Korea will admit its crime and inform us of the fate of the abductees and send back their remains.”

She added that the promise of the U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, to help with the resolution was indeed very encouraging.

Ms. Lee plans to host a seminar on the Armistice Talks and the repatriation of the abductees, with Chuck Downs, former Executive Director at the US Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, and other participants, at the National Press Club in Washington on the 6th to raise awareness of the issue of the abductees in the US.

Lee Seong-hwan, father of Lee Mi-il, was a businessman who graduated Waseda University in Japan. He was taken by North Korean soldiers in September 1950 and no news of him has been heard since.

Lee Mi-il said, “I was heartbroken when the governments of Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun told us to stay quiet so that we would not hamper inter-Korean relations. However, under the Lee Myung-bak government, there has been much tangible progress.

A special law on the abductees passed the National Assembly and 55 people taken to the North during the Korean War were recognized as abductees. We need to continue this trend and let the world know about North Korea’s crime of abducting civilians.”
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