71 Korean American leaders call on President Biden to formally end the Korean War

President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500
March 17, 2021

Dear President Biden,

We, the undersigned, are multi-generational Korean American leaders united in our common desire to see a peaceful resolution to the 70-year Korean War. We represent diverse fields including academia, business, politics and culture. We are Democrats and Republicans. Some of us are former U.S. government officials, nuclear policy experts, in the arts, nonprofit leaders, and humanitarian aid workers with experience engaging directly with North Koreans. As Americans of Korean descent, we share a personal interest in a stable Korean Peninsula.

President Biden, we urge you to declare the official end of the Korean War. An end of Korean War declaration would have significant and concrete implications for advancing the broader peace process. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that countries, including the United States and North Korea, cannot afford to divert critically needed resources toward perpetuating this endless war. The Korean War cost nearly $400 billion (in 2019 dollars) to fight, and continues to be a source of justification for military-centered policies by the United States, South Korea, Japan, and others in the region.

Survey data suggest that many Americans support negotiating a peace agreement with North Korea. In 2019, a poll conducted by Data for Progress and YouGov found that 67% of Americans support a peace agreement with North Korea, including 76% of respondents who identify as Republican and 63% of respondents who identify as Democrat. Support exists in Congress as well, where 52 members of both parties co-sponsored H.Res.152 in the 116th Congress calling for a formal end to the Korean War.

There are human costs to inaction. Tens of thousands of Korean families — including many Korean Americans — remain separated as a result of this seven decades-long war. Days before the election, you wrote that as you peered across the DMZ, you “felt the pain of division on the Korean Peninsula and the separation of families since the Korean War.” Imagine the heartbreak for so many elderly Koreans waiting to see their loved ones. For too many, time is running out.

As outgoing Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun declared in December, “The war is over, the time for conflict has ended and the time for peace has arrived. If we are to succeed, we must work together — the United States, the Republic of Korea, and the DPRK. And when we do, we will at long last be able to bring to this peninsula the lasting peace and prosperity that all the Korean people so richly deserve.”

A lasting resolution to the United States’ oldest overseas conflict is long overdue. We appeal to you to accomplish what no U.S. president has done before: End the Korean War and build a strong foundation for permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.


Christine Ahn (Executive Director of Women Cross DMZ and Recipient of 2020 US Peace Prize)

Jason Ahn (Board Chair of Divided Families USA and CDO of Equality Health)

Howard S. An (Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Rush University Medical Center)

Suhad Babaa (News Publisher and Documentary Producer, Just Vision)

Tae-Ung Baik (Professor of Law and Director of Center for Korean Studies, University of Hawaii, Manoa)

We Hyun Chang (Reverend and Chair, Korea Peace Committee of the Korean Association of the United Methodist Church)

Alexander Chee (Associate Professor of Dartmouth College, essayist and novelist)

Nick Cho (Co-founder, Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters; @YourKoreanDad)

Aiyoung Choi (Chair Emerita, Korean American Family Service Center)

Don Mee Choi (Poet and Translator; Recipient of 2020 National Book Award for Poetry)

Garner Chung (Software Engineering Manager, Google)

Perry Ha (Managing Director, Draper Athena)

Alpin Hong (Concert Pianist and Arts Educator)

Chung-hwa Hong (Executive Director, Grassroots International)

David S. Hong (Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, Stanford University)

Helen Hong (Comedian and Actor)

Kyong Gill (President, Lilyrain Jewelry)

Eungie Joo (Curator of Contemporary Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)

Michael Joo (Artist and Senior Critic, Yale School of Art)

Joseph Juhn (Filmmaker of Jeronimo and Chosen)

Hee-Soo Jung (Bishop, Wisconsin Conference, The United Methodist Church)

James D. Kang (Chair, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School)

Michael Keyoung (Managing Partner, Portola Capital Partners)

Bobby Kim (Co-founder of The Hundreds and Author)

Cheehyung Harrison Kim (Associate Professor of Korean History, University of Hawaii, Manoa)

Christine Y. Kim (Curator of Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Co-founder of GYOPO)

Daniel Y. Kim (Associate Professor of English and American Studies, Brown University)

David K. Kim (Founding Director, Center for Values, Ethics & Culture at The Graduate Theological Union)

David Kim (Concertmaster, The Philadelphia Orchestra)

Elaine H. Kim (Professor Emerita, Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, UC Berkeley)

Jihee Kim Huh (Executive Committee Member, Human Rights Watch)

Ju Yon Kim (Professor of English, Harvard University)

Monica Kim (Assistant Professor, William Appleman Williams Chair of U.S. International and Diplomatic History, University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Nan Kim (Associate Professor of History and Director of Public History, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee)

Paul J. Kim (Principal of LaSalle Asset Management, CEO of Aventis Asset Management, and former Board Chair of Council of Korean Americans)

Shawn Kim (Director of Special Programs, Stanford University)

Suzy Kim (Associate Professor of Korean History, Rutgers University)

Sylvia Kim (General Partner, CerraCap Cares)

Tammy Kim (Vice Mayor, City of Irvine)

Thomas P. Kim (Associate Professor of Politics at Scripps College)

Wonsook Kim (Visual Artist, Philanthropist, and Author of In the Garden)

Insuk Koo (President, Keverry Investments)

Kibun Max Koo (President, Overseas Korean Economic Development Association)

Chahee Lee Stanfield (Executive Director, National Coalition for Korean American Divided Families)

Daniel Lee (Board Member, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy)

HJ Lee (Co-Founder & Executive Director, KoreanAmericanStory.org)

Jessica J. Lee (Senior Research Fellow, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft)

Josephine Lee (President and Artistic Director, Chicago Children’s Choir)

June Lee (Founder, President & CEO of Esker Therapeutics and former Board Chair of the Council of Korean Americans)

Krys Lee (Associate Professor of Creative Writing, Yonsei University)

Lucy Lee (Vice Chair and Chief Executive Officer, HSMG)

Marie Myung-Ok Lee (Novelist, Essayist, Writer in Residence, Columbia University)

Paul K. Lee (President, Divided Families USA)

Sung-ok Lee (Officer, United Methodist Women) 

Deann Borshay Liem (Emmy-award winning Filmmaker, Mu Films)

Ramsay Liem (Professor Emeritus, Boston College)

Choon S. Lim (Reverend and Regional Liaison for East Asia in the World Mission, Presbyterian Church USA) 

Gary Pak (Professor of English, University of Hawaii)

Kee B. Park (Director, Korea Health Policy Project, Harvard Medical School)

Jeffrey Roh (CEO, IntuitiveX)

Angella Son (Professor of Psychology and Religion, Drew University)

Paul Song (CEO, Fuse Biotherapeutics, Inc.)

Alexandra Suh (Executive Director, Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance)

Paul S. Tche (President, Christian Unity and Interfaith Ministry)

Meredith Woo (President, Sweet Briar College)

Sunyoung Yang (Political Director, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance)

Chong Yi (President, FM Kitchens)

Charles Yoon (President, The Korean American Association of Greater New York)

Haeyoung Yoon (Senior Policy Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance)

Stephen (Sang Hyuk) Yoon (Co-Founder, Int’l Executive Director, Ignis Community)

Ji-Yeon Yuh (Associate Professor and Founder of Asian American Studies, Northwestern University)