Republican lawmakers reach out to Korean-American community

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jul 18, 2013 - 19:38
  • Updated : Jul 18, 2013 - 19:38
Rep. Ed Royce (left photo) and South Korean Ambassador Ahn Ho-young (right photo) make speeches at the
Korean-American Meetup in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. (Yonhap News)
WASHINGTON (Yonhap News) ― More than 200 Korean Americans gathered on Capitol Hill Wednesday for an event designed by Republican lawmakers to expand support from the ever-growing minority group nationwide.

“I have the honor of representing one of the largest Korean-American communities in the country,” Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton, California) said at the Korean American Meetup held at the Cannon House Office Building.

“Today’s event is an exciting opportunity to open a dialogue between members of Congress and their Korean-American constituents on the issues that matter most,” said Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

He emphasized the need to step up efforts to address North Korea’s human rights abuses.

Royce also criticized some Japanese politicians for trying to whitewash the country’s wartime atrocities, including the sexual enslavement of more than 200,000 women during World War II.

Other participants included Reps. John Mica from Florida and Steve Stockman and Ted Poe from Texas.

Delivering a speech at the meeting, South Korean Ambassador Ahn Ho-young said, “You are a living example of strong ties between South Korea and the United States.”

Ahn said he believes Korean Americans in the U.S. are lucky, given the close relationship between South Korea, for which they have affection, and the U.S., where they have citizenship.

He asked for congressional support for Seoul’s push to expand the quota of non-immigrant U.S. visas for its citizens with a “specialty occupation.”

Each year roughly 3,500 South Koreans are granted visas for professional skills such as IT, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, biotechnology, medicine and health, law, accounting, and the arts.

It marked the first time that House Republicans held such a large-scale event at the Capitol to reach out to the 2-million-strong Korean-American community in the U.S.