Saturday, July 15, 2017

[Interview] Comfort women issue shouldn’t be a diplomatic matter between governments

Image from article, with caption: Kim Dong-suk, chairman of Korean American Civic Empowerment

Chairman of Korean-American Civic Empowerment discusses growing Korean-American political engagement in the US

“The comfort women issue shouldn’t be approached as a diplomatic issue between South Korea and Japan. It should be approached as an issue pertaining to the universal value of women’s rights,” said Kim Dong-suk, chairman of Korean American Civic Empowerment (KACE), while discussing a resolution about the comfort women that was passed 10 years ago by the US House of Representatives. ...

But after South Korea and Japan reached the comfort women agreement in December 2015, members of Congress have slowly begun to backpedal, Kim related. As South Korean civic groups protesting the agreement pushed to set up comfort women statues in the US, South Korean politicians paid visits to the US and the Japanese government tried to disrupt the campaign. It was gradually becoming a diplomatic dispute, and American lawmakers tried to distance themselves from the issue. “In American society, it‘s more effective to always have American citizens and the Congress vocal and in front while having Koreans take a step back,” Kim explained.
Toward this end, Kim hopes that the South Korean government will exert a little more effort toward “public diplomacy,” by linking up with Korean organizations inside the US. What he means by public diplomacy is for Korean-Americans to urge their members of Congress to take a pro-Korea stance and to implement Korea-friendly policies in Congress. Such activities are already very common among the Israeli, Indian and Chinese communities in the US. ...

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