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White House hosts 1st briefing for Korean Americans

2012/06/09 | 193 views | Permalink | Source

The White House held a three-hour briefing for representatives of the ethnic Korean community in the U.S. on Thursday.

Some 150 ethnic Koreans from across America were invited to the South Court Auditorium of the White House`s Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The event was the first of its kind for the U.S. presidential office.

Attending were senior and working-level officials of the Obama administration, including Gautam Raghavan, associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement; Sydney Seiler, North Korea policy chief at the White House National Security Council; Christopher Kang, a Korean-American legal adviser to President Obama; and Harold Hongju Koh, another Korean-American legal adviser to the U.S. State Department.

The White House briefed the Korean Americans on issues such as the Seoul-Washington alliance, North Korean defectors, the South Korea-U.S. free trade agreement, education and immigration. Sensitive issues such as the disputed name of the body of water between Korea and Japan and building a monument for World War II sex slaves for the Japanese army were not mentioned, however.

An official from the U.S. Commerce Department at the briefing said that as the influence of the Korean community in the U.S. is growing bigger, the U.S. government will actively support Korean Americans advancing into American mainstream society. The official also gave the attendees his phone number and email address.

The session was co-hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the Council of Korean Americans. The U.S. presidential office had accepted the councils request to hold the event.

Council members in attendance were chairman Michael Yang, secretary-general Christina Yoon and co-chairman Kwon Yul, who was the first Asian winner of the CBS reality show Survivor, and Sam Yoon, senior policy adviser to the U.S. Labor Department and former member of the Boston city council.

The Council of Korean Americans is a nonprofit organization founded by 1.5- and second-generation Korean immigrants in the U.S.

Chairman Yang said, The session reflected the heightened status of the Korean community in the U.S. The day when Korean Americans lead Americas future will come soon".

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