Connecting People & Ideas to Advance Mutual Interests in U.S.- Asia Relations

Six members of Korea’s National Assembly traveled to Washington last week to take part in the latest Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Thomas S. Foley Legislative Exchange, which began with U.S.-Japan bilateral meetings April 30 and May 1. Participating National Assembly members included: Choi Woon Youl (Democratic Party of Korea); Hong Il Pyo (Liberty Korea Party), Kim Han Jung (Democratic Party of Korea), Kim Jong Seok (Liberty Korea Party), Na Kyung Won (Head of Delegation) (Liberty Korea Party), and Oh Se Jung (Bareunmirae Party). They joined eleven members of Japan’s National Diet and current and former members of the U.S. House of Representatives for the dialogue. The trilateral component of the Foley Exchange began with a May 1 dinner with Japanese Deputy Chief of Mission Kazutoshi Aikawa, Korean Deputy Chief of Mission Lim Woongson, State Department official Julie Chung (Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Japan, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs), and Congressman Mark Takano (Democrat, California).

On May 2, the legislators gathered for trilateral dialogues in three key issue areas: U.S. politics and implications for relations with Korea and Japan; global economic prospects and future East Asian economic architecture; and trilateral collaboration on North Korea and other shared regional priorities. In addition to Congressman Takano, former congressmen Dan Maffei (Democrat, New York) and Tom Petri (Republican, Wisconsin) participated in the discussions. As part of the first session the legislators were briefed on U.S. defense policy in Asia by Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Randy Schriver and alumni Mansfield Fellow Andrew Winternitz (Principal Deputy for the East Asia Directorate) (pictured above). Former Assistant USTR for Japan, Korea and APEC Bruce Hirsh joined them for the discussion on trade, and former State Department Special Representative for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun provided his perspective on DPRK developments. Heather Foley served as the honorary host of the farewell event for this exchange – a baseball game at Nationals Park. Many of the legislators who participated in last week’s exchange were also part of previous delegations under the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Thomas S. Foley Legislative Exchange. Their sustained participation is meeting a key objective of the program — building lasting relationships among U.S., Japanese, and Korean elected officials and policy experts