North Korea’s saber rattling continues to make international headlines. According to reports, North Korea is threatening another missile test very, very soon. The heightened tension in a very delicate part of the world is raising concern among Korean-Americans. Palisades Park is home to a very large Korean community. NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider spoke with the town’s deputy mayor, Jason Kim, about North Korea’s provocations.
Kim, a native of South Korea, said it’s hard to predict how the isolated country north of the 38th parallel will act. While he has lived in the United States for decades, he still has family in South Korea.
“Actually, my sister and my sister-in-law live in Korea … they worry a lot,” said Kim.
While the situation appears “mind-boggling” to Kim, he said South Korean residents are told by their government to “keep cool and have a normal life.”
The possibility of war between the two Koreas is unthinkable and would have devastating consequences for the south, according to Kim.
“It’s going to be all destruction [and] Seoul is so close .. within missile range, so it’s going to be destroyed no matter what,” he said.
Tens of thousands of American troops are currently stationed in South Korea. And Kim said that that number, along with additional troops in Japan, is sufficient, taking into account the state of military technology.
Recently, the U.S. and South Korea presented a show of force with a joint military action designed to “signal” their readiness to respond to any future hostile action.
“I believe United States should be as aggressive as possible because we have to show them that they are not in control, we are in control,” said Kim.
The new leader of North Korea is Kim Jong-Un, who is estimated to be 29–30 years of age. Kim said that it’s important to remember that North Korea is not run by one individual, and that the army there has its own agenda.
“And they have something they could play with and that is nuclear arm[s].”