WASHINGTON — Rep. Thomas Suozzi spent the Thanksgiving holiday with U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, visiting as part of a congressional delegation amid increased U.S. diplomatic pressure on hostile North Korea.
The Glen Cove Democrat toured the heavily fortified demilitarized zone at the border, where he viewed footage before it was made public of the North Korean soldier shot by his colleagues as he defected and ran toward the south, he said in an interview Wednesday.
Suozzi described the buffer area as “very eerie,” recalling the bullet holes in a building from the shooting last week.
The congressman, a House Armed Services Committee member, also was set to attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Cheonan Memorial, marking the sinking of a South Korean naval ship, and serve Thanksgiving meals to armed forces members at Camp Humphreys, he said.
“If they can’t be home for Thanksgiving, that’s even more reason for me to see them,” he said in a call from South Korea. “Many of them are away from their families and in harm’s way and we need to say thank you.”
Fellow committee members Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) and Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) joined him on the trip.
Suozzi said though Americans may feel anxious about the prospect of nuclear war with North Korea, he was comforted to find that South Korean residents are less concerned and don’t believe the dispute will lead to military action.