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"U.S. to Review Reunion of Korean-Americans with Families in the North"

"U.S. to Review Reunion of Korean-Americans with Families in the North"

Posted March. 10, 2005 22:43,   


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s diplomatic skill will soon be put on the spot.

U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher announced on March 9 that Rice will visit six Asian countries from March 14 to 21 for the first time since taking office.

The six countries she will visit, in order, are India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Japan, Korea, and China. Rice will visit Korea on March 19 and 20.

Boucher said that Rice would review a plan to persuade North Korea with the officials of other east Asian countries.

Rice is expected to discuss cooperative measures for the re-establishment of Afghanistan with India and Pakistan.

After the announcement by the Department of State, Rice stated that she would examine a measure in which Korean-Americans could meet family members in North Korea at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations.

When asked about the possibility of reunions between separated family members in the U.S. and North Korea by Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Rice replied, “the U.S. government will definitely study a plan to include the matter on the agenda of the talks with the North.”

Kirk said, “In the U.S., there are approximately two million Korean-Americans, thousands of whom have family members in North Korea,” and asked Rice if the U.S. could make another promise to let them see each other, saying that the former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, pledged to allow such reunions as soon as possible.

Regarding the matter, Rice commented, “at this point in time, the U.S. is on uncomfortable terms and has many other things to discuss,” and added, “Nevertheless, I understand the specific and humanitarian concerns.”

Soon-Taek Kwon maypole@donga.com