FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Former Members of Congress Meet With Korean Government, Civil Society
(Washington, DC) – FMC welcomed recently retired U.S. House Members back from the Republic of Korea today, following a successful former Members study tour of South Korea through FMC’s Congressional Study Group on Korea (CSGK).
U.S. Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Claudia Tenney (D-NY), Ben Chandler (D-KY), and Jason Lewis (R-MN) traveled to Seoul earlier this week. Following a country briefing by the United States Embassy – Seoul, they met with Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo, Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun; and with Korean National Assemblymen Shim Jae Kwon and Kim Han Jung. They also met with students from Yonsei University.
“The world is safer than it ever has been, but we are still in a very dangerous time for relationships between our nation and those who have historically been interested in our downfall,” said Chandler, a former Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. “I am happy to have had this opportunity to speak with our South Korean allies, to reassure them of America’s commitment to democracy and to learn more about both the military and economic ties between our two nations. Being part of FMC allows me to continue that aspect of service that I enjoyed while on the Hill.”
The former Members also journeyed to the Demilitarized Zone between the ROK and North Korea, often referred to as the most dangerous border in the world. Thanks to a special invitation from Korean Defense Minister Jeong, they were able to visit Arrowhead Ridge, an area normally reserved from public view. Reps. Roskam and Chandler both had fathers who served in the Korean Conflict, so the visit was particularly poignant for them.
“Though we’re not in Congress any longer, we can still bring the message of hope, goodwill and of a continued absolute support, from the United States,” said Roskam, former co-chair of the House Korean Caucus. “Trade, national defense, and our foreign alliances were critical as a Member of Congress. I am happy that joining FMC will allow me to continue that work, and to encourage discussion with my colleagues who are still in the House and Senate.”
FMC, through its Congressional Study Group on Korea, is committed to informing current Members of Congress, and their staffs, on the status of our relationship and alliance with the Republic of Korea; and to encouraging discussion between Congress and subject matter experts on issues critical to both Korea and the United States alliance.
Since beginning the Study Group less than a year ago, dozens of staff and Members have participated in a study tour of the ROK and in programming on Capitol Hill.