A bipartisan group of leading National Assembly members left for Washington on Wednesday for parliamentary diplomacy aimed at advancing the country's security and economic agenda, such as denuclearization and auto tariffs.
"The United States is our traditional friend and key security ally," Rep. Hong Young-pyo, floor leader of the ruling Democratic Party, told reporters ahead of departure. He's the leader of the delegation that also includes four opposition counterparts.
"We're going to meet US leaders and tell them that we should work for denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula while keeping the alliance solid. We're also going to make efforts to help resolve auto and other pending trade issues between the two countries," Hong said.
Rep. Kim Sung-tae of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party said that he's going to conduct bipartisan diplomacy aimed at helping realize genuine peace on the Korean Peninsula within the framework of the solid Korea-US alliance.
Three other participants -- Rep. Kim Kwan-young of the Bareunmirae Party, Rep. Chang Byoung-wan of the Party for Democracy and Peace and Rep. Roh Hoe-chan of the Justice Party -- made similar remarks.
On Wednesday, the lawmakers are scheduled to hold meetings with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce; Sen. Cory Gardner, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific; and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.
On Thursday, they plan to meet with Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, Under Secretary of Defense John Rood and Edward Markey, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific.
They are scheduled to meet with Deputy US Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish on Friday and to attend a lunch meeting hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce, as well as a meeting with Korean Peninsula security experts of the US Institute of Peace. (Yonhap)