June 30, 2016
In recent months, several Members of Congress have introduced new legislation or resolutions addressing U.S. policy toward North Korea, calling for renewed efforts to address various longstanding issues.
Most recently, Representatives Charles Rangel, John Conyers, and Sam Johnson -- all Korean War veterans -- introduced House Resolution 799, calling for the U.S. government to resume talks with North Korea to account for the thousands of U.S. service members who remained unaccounted for at the end of the Korean War. "This resolution would ensure that the heroic service members of the Korean War are identified and brought back to their loved ones in the United States, where they belong," Rep. Rangel said in a press release.
Earlier this month, Senator Mark Kirk introduced a resolution encouraging the reunion of Korean-Americans with their family members in North Korea. The resolution states that "the inclusion of Korean American families in the reunion process would constitute a positive humanitarian gesture by North Korea and contribute to the long-term goal of peace on the Korean Peninsula shared by the governments of North Korea, South Korea, and the United States."
Finally, the FY 2016 State Department Operations Authorization and Embassy Security Act, a major piece of legislation that passed the Senate in April, includes a section creating the position of an "Interagency Hostage Recovery Coordinator." This individual would work to coordinate U.S. government efforts "to secure the release of United States persons who are hostages of hostile groups or state sponsors of terrorism." The Act specifies that North Korea is to be considered a state sponsor of terrorism for such purposes. The House of Representatives has not yet acted upon the legislation.