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Cheri Bustos

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos

Denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula must remain the end result of America's mission, U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline, said Wednesday.

"We have a long way to go," Bustos said. But what America has to look for is the removal of all nuclear weapons from Korea, she said, during a telephone conference call.

Bustos was part of the first congressional delegation to visit South Korea since President Donald Trump’s historic June 12 meeting with North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un, referred to by people she met as "KJU," which she found amusing.

She was a part of a four-member congressional delegation, including members of "both sides of the aisles."

She was joined on the trip by House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces chairman Mike Turner, R-Ohio; and Reps. Jack Bergman, R-Michigan; Jared Huffman, D-California; and Conor Lamb, D-Pennsylvania.

Congressional oversight of the Korean Peninsula was the trip's sole purpose, Bustos said.

Trip highlights included a visit to the Demilitarized Zone, Osan Air Force Base and Camp Humphreys, she said.

Bustos also met with Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of United States Forces Korea; Lt. Gen. Michael Bills, 8th Army commander; Lt. Gen. Thomas Bergeson, 7th Air Force commander;· 1st vice minister Lim Sung-nam of the foreign affairs ministry of the Republic of Korea; Song Young-moo of the republic's defense ministry.

Bustos was particularly interested in learning more about how the Rock Island Arsenal provides equipment and logistical support to U.S. military installations in South Korea.

The Army Sustainment Command makes virtually everything for them, she said.

First Army troops also stationed at the Arsenal were called "vital" by one of the generals she met.

She also cited efforts of other agencies from her 17th Congressional district, including a Rockford aerospace company.

Diplomatic efforts continue in Korea. "What makes it impossible is ignoring the problem," she said. "We've been in this armistice for 75 years, and there's been a lot of ups and downs."

It has nearly caused whiplash, she said, from being at the brink of nuclear war to the first meeting of the nation's leaders in 75 years.


Business Editor/Night City Editor