71 Korean American Leaders Call on President Biden to Formally End the Korean War


CONTACT: Jessica Rosenblum, Quincy Institute, 202.800.4662/ [email protected]

Kathleen Richards, Women Cross DMZ, 510.418.0972/ [email protected] 

Washington, DC — 71 prominent Korean American leaders, representing diverse fields such as academia, business, and politics, have signed a letter calling on President Joe Biden to declare an official end to the Korean War. 

The letter, written by Christine Ahn of Women Cross DMZ, Dr. Kee B. Park of Harvard University, and Jessica J. Lee of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, demonstrates strong public support for transformational change on the Korean Peninsula and the desire to bring about a peaceful resolution to the seven-decades long Korean War. 

An end-of-war declaration, the letter notes, would have significant and concrete implications for advancing the broader peace process. It would present an important step towards a peace agreement with North Korea, a measure supported by 67 percent of Americans, according to a 2019 poll by Data for Progress and YouGov.

In addition to reducing the risk of conflict on the peninsula, an end-of-war declaration could help reunite Korean American families who have been separated from their loved ones in North Korea for seven decades. 

“It is time for the Korean War to formally end,” Jessica J. Lee of the Quincy Institute stated. “President Biden should do what no U.S. president has done before: Declare the Korean War over and initiate a peace process to better protect U.S. interests in the region and usher in lasting peace on the peninsula.”

According to Dr. Kee B. Park, Director of the Korea Health Policy Project at Harvard Medical School, “By declaring the end of the Korean War, President Biden would be signaling his intentions for a diplomatic path toward sustainable peace on the Korean Peninsula — something most Koreans and the majority of Americans want.”

“Nearly every Korean person has been impacted directly or indirectly by the Korean War, which claimed millions of lives and tore families apart,” stated Christine Ahn, Executive Director of Women Cross DMZ. “By finally ending this long and tragic war, President Biden can help bring closure and healing to so many Koreans and Americans.”

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 US president has done before: End the Korean War and build a
strong foundation for permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Christine Ahn (Executive Director, Women Cross DMZ; Recipient of 2020 US Peace

Jason Ahn (Board Chair of Divided Families USA, 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, 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, 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, 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, Senior Critic, Yale School of Art)

Joseph Juhn (Filmmaker: JERONIMO – 2019; CHOSEN – 2021)

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, The Hundreds and author)

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

Christine Y. Kim (Curator, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; 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

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; Author of “In the Garden”)

Insuk Koo (President, Keverry Investments)

Kibun Max Koo (President, OKEDA- Overseas Korean Economic Development

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 of the
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

*Affiliation listed for identification purposes only.
Cc: Secretary of State Tony Blinken
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin