Washington, D.C. – Tonight the House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation (H. Con. Res. 40) authored by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), which encourages North Korea to allow Korean Americans to meet their long-lost relatives separated by the Korean War.

Below are key excerpts (as prepared for delivery) from Chairman Royce’s remarks on the House floor prior to the vote:

“Sadly, Mr. Speaker, Korea remains a divided peninsula. There is a prosperous and free South Korea.  And a brutal, totalitarian and impoverished North Korea.  This division is a calamity that is acutely felt by South Korean families separated by the DMZ, but it is just as painful for many Korean American families.

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.  Many have long sought an opportunity to be reunited.

And Mr. Speaker, time is running out.  Earlier this year, the average Korean separated by the war was 80 years old.  A large number are over 90.  It is far past time that these war-torn families be given one last opportunity to reunite with family members they were separated from six decades ago.  It is everyone’s hope, of course, that the Korean Peninsula will be reunified.”