Si-myeon Kim, an 82-year-old who once served as the Korean American Federation L.A. president and erected a monument twice at South Korea’s Gimpo Airport as a “gift to the motherland,” is stepping up to help Koreans who wish to maintain dual citizenship.
Kim visited the Korea Daily on Monday to discuss his plans.
First of all, Kim suggested that the South Korean government will be better off getting rid of its current law stipulating that dual citizenship is only allowed to those aged 65 or older.
Second of all, Kim urged the Korean government to scrap its mandatory military service by making it voluntary.
“There’s a need to make being a part of the military as a job as a part of the plan to ease unemployment among young people in South Korea,” said Kim. “By lengthening the service to four to six years, making it voluntary is completely possible.”
Kim added: “By creating a five-year provisional period, the new law could be implemented with no side effects.”
“I met with Wen-shik Park recently,” Kim said. “Both of his children graduated from the Navy academy, but they haven’t been able to hold a respectable position since. I heard it’s because they have dual citizenship. Such an unreasonable law should be fixed promptly.”
Kim said: “I’ve volunteered to help the Korean community for over 60 years and felt like someone should have a voice about the dual citizenship matters. That is the way to help our country as so many are suffering mentally and financially because of it. I hope more people understand that ultimately, all of this is a loss of the country as a whole.”
Meanwhile, Kim plans to team up with Korean American Forum directors Byung-do Lee, Byung-wook Yoon and Hyung-man Park on May 15 of next year to hold a protest. He added that any Korean who shares his interest is welcome to join the efforts. ▶Inquiry: (714) 642-7542, email@example.com
By Byung Chang