중앙데일리

Distinguished Congressman gets Korean honor

Jan 22,2007
Congressman Charles B. Rangel, a friend of Korea. [JoongAng Ilbo]
United States Congressman Charles B. Rangel received the Distinguished Order of Diplomatic Service from the Korean government on Korean-American Day (January 13) at the Colden Center for the Performing Arts theater, Queens College, New York. Congressman Rangel said that he was honored to receive the award and that his achievement is the achievement of all his Korean friends. The medal was awarded to him by the consul general in New York, Moon Bong-ju. It is given to non-Koreans who have made significant contributions to the diplomatic relationship between Korea and other countries.


Mr. Rangel said that this is a special day for Koreans in that they can celebrate their culture and background. He also said that the United States is, more than ever, dependent on Korea.
The congressman is recognized as one of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives who has worked at supporting the rights of Koreans living in America over the past 30 years. Mr. Rangel is a veteran of the Korean War and got injured while fighting the Chinese forces during the Battle of Kunu Ri. He received a Purple Heart and the Bronze Medal of Valor from the U.S. government for his feats.
He is also a co-chairman of the House Korean Caucus, a group consisting of pro-Korean members of the House of Representatives.
Congressman Rangel’s achievements are remarkable considering his difficult childhood. Born in Harlem, New York City during a time of economic depression and racial oppression, he dropped out of high school at 16 and did numerous jobs while struggling with homelessness. After returning from the Korean War he went back to school and completed two years of high school in one year and went on to graduate from New York University’s School of Commerce. Later on, he attended St. John’s University on a full scholarship and earned a degree in law. He was appointed by the then U.S. Attorney General, Robert Kennedy, as the U.S. attorney in the southern district of New York and began a career in politics.
With massive support behind him from local citizens, he was appointed as the chairman of the Committee of House Ways and Means as well as the Board of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and is an integral part of the Free Trade Agreement talks between Korea and the United States.
Concerning bi-lateral trade relations, Mr. Rangel said that the automobile sector is a key problem area and that Koreans should buy American cars if they are of sufficient quality, just as Americans are buying Korean cars. He added that both the Democratic and the Republican Party put great emphasis on free trade but that the Democratic Party has different principles regarding the labor environment in other countries. He emphasized that the Free Trade Agreement should open doors for employment in both Korea and the United States.


By Nam Jeong-ho JoongAng Ilbo jainnie@joongang.co.kr


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