A U.S. congressional study group focusing on South Korea will launch this week to help deepen ties between the allies, according to the organizers.
It will be the fourth such group to be launched by the Association of Former Members of Congress (FMC), a bipartisan nonprofit. The others focus on Germany, Japan and Europe, the FMC said in a recent press release.
The latest group will launch Tuesday with the co-chairs -- Reps. Ami Bera (D-CA) and Mike Kelly (R-PA) -- in attendance.
"We are excited to facilitate important dialogue between Members of Congress and their counterparts in South Korea, especially at this moment in the U.S.-Korean relationship," Pete Weichlein, CEO of FMC, was quoted as saying in the release.
The two lawmakers also noted the importance of strengthening the alliance through mutual understanding.
"I'm proud to serve as the first co-chair of the Congressional Study Group on Korea," Bera said. "While the United States and Republic of Korea share many security concerns, what truly binds us together are our common ideals and shared values of democracy. In these challenging times, we cannot allow any distance to come between us."
Kelly said, "Better understanding our allies and trading partners is an important way for Congress to better be able to protect our country and grow our economy."
South Korea and the U.S. have been working together to address the common threat posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, while also renegotiating a bilateral free trade agreement at Washington's request. (Yonhap)