Published : 2013-03-22 09:25
Updated : 2013-03-22 09:25
A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers keenly interested in Korean affairs launched a "Korea Caucus" Thursday for the 113th session of Congress.
It is co-chaired by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA).
Attending a ceremony at Capitol Hill, they noted the development of the South Korea-U.S. alliance since the 1950-53 Korean War.
"Many times it’s called the forgotten war, but it’s not forgotten for those of us who appreciate freedom," Roskam said.
South Korea has especially transformed itself from a recipient nation to a leading donor nation, he added.
Kelly also stressed South Korea is "the model of how democracy works."
"We will work very hard to make sure that the relationship that has been established over the years continues to get nothing but stronger and that we work together on issues," added the congressman, who once worked as a car dealer for South Korea’s Hyundai.
South Korean Ambassador to Washington Choi Young-jin agreed that South Korea has rapidly achieved democracy and economic growth with the help of the U.S.
He cited the smooth implementation of the bilateral free trade agreement, which took effect a year ago.
When South Korean President Park Geun-hye visits Washington in early May, she will present a vision for the further development of the alliance, added Choi.
The ambassador requested support of the Korea Caucus in strengthening the Seoul-Washington relationship.
The caucus was launched in 2003 for the purpose of promoting the two nations’ ties and exchanges as well as sharing of Korea-related information in Congress.
It had a total of 58 members, 23 Republicans and 35 Democrats, in the previous congressional session. The exact number of the caucus for this session has not been confirmed. (Yonhap News)