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Washington, D.C. – Tonight, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) will join members of the Korean National Assembly on Capitol Hill to celebrate the annual Korean American Day, which recognizes the contributions of millions of Korean Americans living in the United States.

Below are Chairman Royce’s remarks (as prepared for delivery):

“Ahn Yang Ha Say Yo! I would like to offer my very best wishes as we recognize the achievements and contributions of the Korean American community on Korean American Day.

As an original cosponsor of H. Res. 487, Supporting the goals and ideals of Korean American Day, I remember joining my colleague Tom Davis on the House Floor speaking in support of the measure. I was proud that we got it passed by an overwhelming vote of 405-0.

Over ten years after that momentous vote, we once again remember the first Korean immigrants who landed in America on January 13th, 1903. Since those first immigrants arrived, Korean Americans have taken root and thrived in our country through their strong family ties and hard work.

The Korean American community in Southern California serves as an important pillar of strength that supports the friendship between the U.S. and South Korea. Growing up in Southern California, I saw firsthand the incredible love and respect that Korean Americans have for their heritage and for their adopted homeland, the United States.

It’s this passion that is at the heart of the special relationship between the United States and South Korea. For over 60 years, the U.S.-South Korea alliance has flourished because of your collective efforts.

As Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I am committed to ensuring that we continue to deepen our bonds. And there is a good reason I have worked to make this relationship even stronger. When we strengthen our alliance with South Korea, we make both the U.S. and the world safer and stronger.

And by working together, we’ve helped both Americans and Koreans prosper. We have enjoyed tremendous success since the passage of KORUS, which I was proud to co-author. In the years since the agreement has gone into effect, our trade has risen by nearly $25 billion. That’s a great start, but I know we have just begun to realize our potential.

I have also long worked with members of the Korean American Community to help facilitate family reunions. Sadly, Korea remains a divided peninsula. In the decades since the momentous liberation of Korea, millions of Korean families have been separated from their loved ones. Today, an estimated 100,000 Korean Americans have been separated from their relatives in North Korea and have long sought an opportunity to be reunited.

This is a calamity that is acutely felt in South Korea, but also felt here amongst so many Korean American families. And that is why I joined my good friend Charlie Rangel in introducing a resolution – H. Con. Res. 40 – that encourages reunions of Korean Americans and their North Korean family members.

I was happy to pass this resolution out of my committee, and subsequently pass it through both the House and Senate. It is my sincere hope that this resolution will help ease the suffering of these families that so desperately want to be reunited with their loved ones.

Again, today we celebrate the many contributions Korean Americans have made to the US. I promise you that I will remain committed to deepening U.S.-Korea relations, and will remain a steadfast friend of Korea.”