May 23, 2012 - U.S. Congress Takes Action
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2014-01-16 11:48:11  |  Hit 1170
“The handicapped person who moved U.S. Congress to action”

May 23, 2012
Korea Journalists Association Newsletter

One of the most popular books on American politics is called “U.S. Congress, The Place That Moves the World.”
The author is Song Woe Dal, the editor of ChosunIlbo’s Weekly BIZ, and the book contains his observations of the American federal legislature when he studied in Washington, D.C. The book has been reviewed so favorably it is frequently cited in the academic community.

The book states that the impact of decisions by the American legislature on the world is so large that the legislature doesn’t make decisions just for the U.S. but rather for the entire world.
The book also states that the American legislature is both a roadblock and active partner for the process of Korean unification and in international politics in Northeast Asia.
As the book’s title makes clear, the global influence of the American legislature is so great that every country in the world pays close attention to decisions being made there. There are about 10 different newspapers that report on the goings-on in the American legislature.

It was the American legislature’s tremendous importance in world affairs that caused the Japanese government to take an all-out effort to block the passage of a resolution concerning comfort women in the Japanese military in July 2007.
At the time, the Japanese ambassador to the U.S. even sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi saying that the resolution would cause a crisis in U.S. and Japanese relations.

One person who recognized early the influence of the American legislature was Lee Mi-Il, the president of the Korean War Abductees’ Family Union (KWAFU). While watching the passage of the resolution concerning comfort women in 2007, she decided she needed to pass a resolution concerning the North Korean abductee issue in the American legislature to raise awareness about North Korea’s criminal abductions in the international community.

She first focused all her efforts on passing a law concerning the abductee issue in the South Korean legislature. Passed in 2010, this new law established a committee to investigate the abductee issue. With this success behind her, she then moved to contact members of the U.S. legislature. She was ultimately able to move Charles Rangel, a veteran of the Korean War, to push through a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives that called for the repatriation of South Korean POWs, missing persons, and abductees.

During this process, Lee was called “human garbage” by North Korea and received threats from the country. One of North Korea’s mouthpiece websites, Uriminjokggirri, criticized her efforts saying, “These traitorous pieces of human garbage with impure aims have pulled together a resolution concerning abductees and are putting on a clown show.” Even some within the South Korean government questioned whether the U.S. really needed to pass a resolution concerning the abductee issue.

However, the American legislature’s resolution is significant because it provides the groundwork for the abductee issue to be handled by the international community. Park Sun Young, a Liberty Forward Party lawmaker who introduced Lee to the American legislature, said she would use this resolution to demand that the U.N. Human Rights Committee establish an investigation committee on the abductee issue.

The passage of the resolution has also made it possible to file requests to Canada, England, Australia, and other major participants in the Korean War, so they can take measures to pass a similar resolution.

In short, the movement to spread awareness globally about the wartime and post-war abductee issue, which has failed to be properly remembered in South Korea, was begun by 135 cm tall handicapped person.

Elena Ros-Lehtinen, the head of the U.S. House of Representative’s foreign affairs committee, has announced she will meet with Lee during an upcoming visit to South Korea to support and encourage her work. Though she suffers from a handicap, Lee is deserving of praise for having made the abductee issue a focus of attention in both South Korea and the U.S.
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86 May 23, 2012 - U.S. Congress Takes Action
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84 Apr. 25, 2012 - Recite Names of Abductees
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81 Dec. 3, 2011 - [NYT] Abductee's Daughter
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80 Nov.5,2011- Chair Promises to Pass Resolution
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79 Oct. 31, 2011- US House Advance a Resolution
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78 Oct.26,2011-Nationwide Campaign to Wear Badge
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77 Oct. 23, 2011- Editorial of Kukmin Daily
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76 Oct.22, 2011-KWAFU Badge, High Officials Worn
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74 Oct. 7, 2011 - NK intentionally hid the truth
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73 Oct. 7, 2011- NK Must Repatriate Abductees
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