Vermont’s Patrick Leahy will be among nine U.S. Senators leaving Sunday to visit the Korean DMZ and Vietnam.
Leahy, D-Vt., the vice chair of the Appropriations Committee and the ranking member of its Subcommittee on the State Department and Foreign Operations, is heading the bipartisan delegation. Accompanying him are Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Senator Debbie Stabenow,D-Michigan, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, D- Rhode Island, Senator Tom Udall D-New Mexico, Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Senator Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Senator Tim Kaine, D-Virgina, and Senator Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin.
They plan to meet in South Korea with U.S. officials and military leaders, and to visit the Demilitarized Zone. They’ll discuss trade and other issues with South Korean leaders, such as the U.S.’s talks with North Korea over nuclear weapons, as well as prisoners of war.
In Vietnam, the delegation plans to meet with the Vietnamese president and general secretary of Vietnam, minister of defense, and other officials, and to visit the National Assembly. There will also be meetings with business leaders, university students, and nongovernmental groups who work to clear areas of landmines and similar devices.
The delegation also plans to be at two events, one being the formal kickoff of the second program for dioxin remediation. This will take place at Bien Hoa Air Base, which is near Ho Chi Minh City. It was the largest U.S. base during the Vietnam War. Dioxin is a byproduct of Agent Orange. The first project, which focused on Da Nang, was finished last year. Both are U.S. funded.
The second event is the signing of a “Disabilities Memorandum of Intent” between the U.S. and Vietnam, outlining a five-year commitment to help with health and disability programs in areas that were sprayed with Agent Orange.
The delegation also plans to attend meetings in Alaska at ALASKAN COMMAND, and at the U.S. Pacific Command Headquarters and with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, in Hawaii.