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Unprecedented Gesture of Favor From Washington

Posted January. 28, 2008 08:39,   


The U.S. House of Representatives is preparing for a resolution congratulating President-elect Lee Myung-bak’s election victory.

Congressman Edward Royce (R-Cal.) on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs told reporters at his office on Friday that he would introduce a resolution to the committee to celebrate Lee’s victory and the advancement of democracy in Korea. The resolution also contains the American hope for a more consolidated alliance with South Korea.

The U.S. Senate is also making a similar gesture. It will reportedly pass a similar resolution in the near future. A diplomatic source in Washington confirmed, “Chairman [of U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations] Joseph Biden (D-Del.) is working on a resolution celebrating Lee’s election victory and delivering the U.S. wish for a better relation with South Korea. Mr. Biden will probably introduce the resolution sometime next week.”

The U.S. Congress traditionally recognizes a new administration of a U.S. ally or acknowledges the feats of a new leader through a resolution. According to the experts, it is very unusual for both the House of Representatives and the Senate to try to pass resolutions to congratulate a foreign leader on the election victory and to deliver wishes for better relations prior to the inauguration.

The House resolution is receiving bipartisan support. Rep. Diane Watson (D-Cal.) is joining hands with Republican Congressman Royce. The proposal will likely be put up for a vote in the full House next year without a review on the committee level.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida, the Republican leader on the House committee who has endorsed the plan, said that the proposal may be directly introduced to the full House to show the unprecedented support for the upcoming Lee administration. She added that the gesture symbolizes the high expectations for the future of the Korea-U.S. relations.

In December 1992 and in February 2003 when Kim Young-sam and Roh Moo-hyun got elected South Korean president, respectively, proposals for resolutions recognizing the new administration were introduced to the House, but later dismissed without a vote at the full House.

In July 1998, however, celebrating the 50th anniversary of South Korea’s foundation, the U.S. House passed a resolution acknowledging the efforts of the Kim Dae-jung administration in overcoming the economic crisis in Korea.