Via Daily Freeman
KINGSTON, N.Y. >> Fresh on the heels of news the President Donald Trump will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, U.S. Rep. John Faso says he’s been asked to be part of a congressional delegation that will travel to South Korea,
The trip is being organized by the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress.
“I just received an invitation last week to visit Korea as part of a congressional delegation, and I’m considering whether or not it can fit into the schedule to go,” Faso, R-Kinderhook, said Monday.
“The only thing that would take priority is if I have commitments here that I cannot change,” Faso said. “This thing is supposed to happen in late April … and I know that I have things scheduled in that time period, and the question is whether they can be changed.”
Faso, a first-term congressman who’s up for re-election in November, said he expects the delegation to be bipartisan and consist of less than 10 representatives.
“Given everything that’s going on, I would like to go and see first hand and discuss with officials [about] their perspective,” he said.
Faso said the trip important is relevant to a wide range of issues.
“You have to look at U.S. overall interest in Asia,” he said. “You have to look at the relations with China and particularly you have to consider the impact upon our longstanding ally Japan. Both of these (South Korea and Japan), we have extraordinarily close and friendly military and economic relationships. … So it has to be considered in that overall context, not simply in isolation to the Korean peninsula.”
Faso also said he is hopeful about Trump’s planned meeting with the North Korean leader.
“I think certainly the administration has successfully put sufficient pressure on the North Koreans through China, though others, and through our own activity to hopefully bring the North Koreans to the table in a meaningful way,” he said.
“It’s important for them to give up their nuclear ambitions,” Faso said of North Korea. “The county is impoverished. It is a barren, destitute country that, compared to the South on the same peninsula, which is a democracy [and has] economic prosperity, the North is barren and desolate with a very strong, fearsome military and reckless nuclear program.”
Faso said expectations about the Trump-Kim meeting need to be kept realistic.
“I don’t think we should hold out hope for automatic change and a miraculous change in the North Korean intentions,” he said. “But I do think it’s a good first step, and I think the relentless pressure the administration has put on the North Korean regime, especially through the Chinese, has borne some fruit. But let’s not get over-optimistic about this … [because] past overtures have not been successful, and they (North Korea) have not lived up to the commitments they’ve made.”
Faso represents New York’s 19th Congressional District, which comprises some or all of eight counties, mostly in the Hudson Valley.