Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

CD4 Councilmember David Ryu Celebrates Korean Independence and Joins Korean American Call for Peace

Councilmember David Ryu and Korean Leaders commemorate Korean Independence and urge peace
CD 4 Councilmember David Ryu, addressed the City Council on Friday along with leaders from the Los Angeles Korean American community. In a speech commemorating the 72nd anniversary of Korea’s independence, Ryu took the opportunity for call for efforts to de-escalate current hostilities between the U.S. and North Korea.

“This year marks the 72nd anniversary of Korea’s independence, also known as “Gwang-bok-jeol” this literally means “The Day the Light Returned.”  In 1945, Korea gained its independence and was liberated from Japanese colonial rule. As a result, many people worldwide recognize August 15th to celebrate the rich Korean history and culture,” said Ryu.

“This week also marks the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The cost of maintaining peace is often difficult, but it is always better than paying the ultimate price of tragedy and war. And when it comes to atomic or nuclear weapons — we must collectively say, “never again,” said Ryu.

On Thursday, twenty Korean American elected officials, including Councilmember David Ryu,  and the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs delivered a letter to President Donald J. Trump, calling for peace and diplomacy in the United States’ response to North Korea’s provocations.

The strongly worded letter urged the the President to reconsider his tough threatening language directed at the North Korea’s leader Kim Jung-Un and consider the potential loss of life that would surely result of any kind of military action.

“There are more than 1.8 million Americans of Korean ancestry living in the United States today, many of whom we represent as constituents. While we agree that measures must be taken to reduce or end the tensions on the Korean peninsula, we respectfully urge you to reconsider the way you and your Administration are reacting to this situation by avoiding dangerous language that could end up unnecessarily escalating the conflicts even more.

South Korea’s capital city, Seoul, has a population of 10 million living just 35 miles from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Among them are nearly 30,000 American military service members and civilians who work closely with the Republic of Korea’s government to protect our mutual interests. There are also over 130,000 American citizens who live, work or study in Korea today.

As Korean Americans, we have clear and deep memories of the last time military conflict arose on the Korean peninsula. Over 36,000 Americans gave their lives to fight against communism. Millions of Korean families live with collective memories of both the American and Korean bloodshed and the unending yearning for those loved ones who were lost or separated during the three year war.

As Asian Americans, we are also painfully aware of the unspeakable tragedy and destruction from weapons of mass destruction deployed in a small region, as we reflect upon the 72nd anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki this week.

If we have learned any lessons from WWII, it is that the cost of maintaining peace may be difficult, but it is always a better deal than paying the ultimate price of war. And when it comes to atomic or nuclear weapons, we must collectively say, “Never Again.”

That is why we ask you to pursue all diplomatic options and strategies and to fully staff your State Department with policy experts who understand the Korean peninsula, so that, working with all stakeholders, we can find a workable and permanent peaceful resolution.”

The Korean American Coalition Los Angeles shared the letter in press release on Friday supporting the actions of Korean American elected officials all over the U.S., including Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Washington, Illinois, Hawaii, California, and Georgia.

“KAC stands in support of our Korean American elected officials on this joint effort, which represents the great progress that our community has made,” said KAC Executive Director Joon Bang. “We live in extraordinary times, during which world leaders have the power to plunge nations into catastrophic and irrevocable outcomes with the press of a button. As citizens, we seek leadership that promotes peace and diplomacy, not war. Today, Korean American elected officials from across the nation came together in unprecedented solidarity to honor the value of diplomacy and to urge the President of the United States to seek strategies toward peace.”

Explaining how the LA-based KAC became involved in this international effort to de-escalate hostilities, Bang said the Buzz that since Los Angeles is home to the largest Korean community in the United States, his organization was the first civic/civil interest organization formed to support the Korean community in the early ’80s.
“As a result of that, many of today’s Korean American influencers and elected officials have either been a part of our organization or have benefited from KAC’s programs and advocacy work. Mark Keam, who is a Virginia Delegate reached out to me about the effort and shared the letter with us as they were sending the letter to the President.”
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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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