Korean Initiatives

Korean Initiatives

Congressman Curt Weldon (1987-2007)

Congressman Curt Weldon served 20 years in the United States House of Representatives and retired in 2007. When Weldon retired he was Vice Chairman of both the Armed Services Committee as well as the Homeland Security Committee. During his tenure in Congress Weldon focused heavily on issues involving Korea.

In 1989 Weldon was part of the first US Delegation to travel to Panmunjom to receive the remains of US military personnel from the DPRK government in a formal ceremony. During the stop in Seoul Weldon met with the Korean President at Blue House.

As Chairman of every Sub-Committee of the Armed Services Committee Weldon spent considerable time on DPRK (North Korea)’s program for production of weapons of mass destruction. Weldon became the House expert on North Korea’s missile programs and proliferation activities. Weldon was a frequent guest lecturer on North Korea’s military system and capabilities.

Weldon was named by Speaker Dennis Hastert to serve on the Speaker’s Task Force on North Korea which produced an extensive report on offensive military programs and proliferation violations of the North Korean government.

Weldon lead the effort to establish a formal dialogue with the South Korean Parliament and helped initiate the process that lead to annual meetings and agenda setting conferences between the two Parliaments. Weldon became friends with Members of the South Korean Parliament from both major political parties.

For 6 years Weldon initiated and worked to develop a long term plan to create a strategy for peace on the Korean Peninsula. His development of the PNG Project was designed to build an energy pipeline from Eastern Russia at Sakhalin to supply petroleum products to South Korea along the bi-lateral rail corridor. Weldon championed this initiative in the US, Russia, South Korea, China and in North Korea on both of his visits to Pyongyang.

Weldon was one of the first Members of Congress informed by the Bush Administration that the US had hard evidence of North Korea’s deliberate violations of the 1994 Agreed Framework. While Weldon was a tireless opponent of North Korea’s offensive military and nuclear program Weldon also believed that informal dialogue with DPRK’s political leadership was absolutely essential.

Weldon was invited by the State Department and DPRK to participate in 3 US based conferences between select leadership of the United States (including then Senator Joe Biden) and North Korea’s Foreign Ministry. Weldon and Biden were the only two Members of Congress involved in these informal discussions. During this time Weldon also was invited to present Keynote Lectures on US/DPRK relations at Stanford, University of Georgia, Korean Economic Forum, The Korea Society, and numerous regional and local organizations.

In 2004 Weldon lead the first US Congressional Delegation into North Korea and met for 6 hours with Lead negotiator Kim Gye Gwan and top leaders of DPRK government. On the eve of the trip into Pyongyang Weldon’s Delegation was honored by Hyundai Chairman Chung at Hyundai Headquarters with a large dinner attended by public and private leaders of South Korea. On this trip Weldon developed the Weldon Korean Peace Initiative that consisted of a two-part ten point 6 party peace process that was enthusiastically received by DPRK leadership.

In 2005 Weldon lead the second US Congressional Delegation into Pyongyang convincing DPRK to continue involvement in the 6 Party Peace Process. After each trip Weldon briefed South Korea’s President at Blue House and Secretary of State Colin Powell and senior US officials. During the 2nd trip Weldon’s Delegation also briefed senior leadership of Russia, China and Japan in their respective capitals.

Weldon’s trips to Seoul often involved KITA and senior business leaders. In 2007 Weldon’s visit to Seoul was hosted by KITA Chairman and Board of Directors. On that trip Weldon gave a Keynote Lecture to the Association of Retired Four Star Generals which was also attended by the former Prime Minister.

Weldon has returned to Seoul on several occasions since leaving Congress and has established a business relationship was Dr. Syung Je Park (senior economic/military analyst and advisor) and Ambassador/General Jangnai Sohn (ret) working together on ongoing US/Korean business relations. Weldon has consulted for Hyundai Corporation in Libya and continues to represent other Korean interests.

In the summer of 2009 Weldon was approached by 7 senior bi-partisan Members of the US Congress to arrange another US Congressional trip into Pyongyang. Weldon met with DPRK Minister Lee at the UN Mission and received approval for a third Congressional visit to Pyongyang. Weldon briefed key State Department and NSC Staff and is waiting final approval for that trip to take place and has been asked to accompany the Delegation when the trip occurs.

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