The Council on Unification and Perspective
From SeGye
September 15, 2003

By Kwangil Chung

Korean Americans wonder about the prerogatives of the Advisory Council on Democratic and Peaceful Unification (ACDPU) in New York. Is it a group of people who continue to be concerned about reunification of divided home country even as they are busy making a living in a foreign country, or do they merely desire the prestige of a title under a big organization while not actually working to accomplish anything concrete?

The answer is closer to the latter, and this merits an examination on the role of the ACDPU in New York City. On Sep 4, the eleventh term of the ACDPU of New York began with the participation of 200 familiar faces from Korean community leaders in New York and New Jersey. This makes a critical look at the meaning of the Council in New York City's Korean community necessary.

The ACDPU is a governmental advisory organization. Since its foundation it has been fundamentally different from other community organizations, most of which are formed independently and run autonomously. The Council is actually a part of Korean government and it follows the Constitution of the Republic of Korea.

It is very different from business owners’ organizations which promote economic benefits, or local groups which are concerned well being of Korean communities in New York.

The ACDPU in N.Y. is making a mistake by avowing an interest in Korean-American promotion or engaging in business that is better left to lawyers or accountants.

Indeed, the activities of previous terms of the ACDPU Council have not been very different from those sponsored by other local organizations. They held golf events, organized picnics, or invited celebrities over from Seoul.

These events, which do not further any of the ACDPU's claimed responsibilities, have been heavily covered by Korean American community media.

The ACDPU is defined as making recommendations and providing consultations to President with regard to the necessary unification policies. Cultural, educational or law-related events could be left to a secondary consideration. Currently, the Council structure is huge and bureaucratic, including many positions that are not crucial to the unification issue.

Going through Kim DaeJung to President Roh, it is time for the Council to pay greater attention to its avowed purpose.

The unification is about more than obtaining a Council title and taking pictures with the Korean President in Seoul's Blue House. Korean Americans should take stronger part in unification process by providing their unique voice and role from the United States.

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Translated from Korean by Joo Yeon Lee

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