Toward an end to the Korean War
The second summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea) took place in Hanoi last week. Many were hoping for more concrete action steps and details on the initial agreement that was signed at the Singapore summit in 2018. Advancing the twin goals of denuclearization and a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula are possible but will require a give and take between the two countries.
Ahead of the summit, there was speculation about what North Korea might agree to in exchange for economic sanctions relief. From the U.S. side, many hoped for a final peace agreement to formally end the Korean War that ended in an armistice in 1953.
Diplomacy is difficult and requires patience. As the U.S. and North Korea continue down a path of warming relations, it is critical that Congress also support these diplomatic efforts. Declaring a formal end to the Korean War is a necessary step if we hope to reach a more complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Ask your representative to co-sponsor a resolution to formally end the war.
Ecumenical Advocacy Days, April 5-8
Join us for this year’s Ecumenical Advocacy Days conference, held just outside Washington, D.C., the first weekend in April. In addition to the conference’s great plenary speakers and worship times, MCC staff are helping to plan workshops on the root causes of migration, migrant caravans, the environmental impact of border walls and climate finance. Early bird registration ends March 9.
Gun policy: On February 27 the House passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, to require background checks for all gun sales. A day later they passed a bill expanding the time for background checks. Urge your senators to support companion legislation.
Immigration: On February 14, Congress approved $1.375 billion for border fences and walls and additional funds for immigrant detention. The next day, President Trump declared a national emergency and pledged to transfer $6.7 billion more for wall construction. The House passed a disapproval resolution and sent the bill to the Senate, but it is unlikely to receive enough votes to overcome a presidential veto. Multiple lawsuits have also been filed. Read more.
Middle East: The Senate passed S. 1 on February 5. The bill includes the Combating BDS Act, would strengthen military cooperation with Israel and Jordan and would increase sanctions on Syria. See how your senators voted on the full bill and an amendment regarding U.S. troops in Syria.
Nigeria: On February 14, the Senate passed a resolution calling for credible and transparent elections in Nigeria (S. Con. Res. 1). After a week’s delay, Nigeria held presidential and national assembly elections on February 23. Read more.
Border wall faith backgrounder (Interfaith Immigration Coalition, February 2019 update)
Staff met with students and faculty from Eastern Mennonite University when they visited Washington, D.C., on February 7.
Tammy Alexander spoke with members of Blooming Glen Mennonite Church in Pennsylvania at multiple events on February 16-17.
Sign up for the Washington Office E-Memo.
Photo at top: Charissa Zehr, MCC U.S. Washington Office staff, reads aloud a declaration calling for peace on the Korean Peninsula at the Global Peace Forum on Korea in September 2018. MCC photo/Doug Hostetter