Weighing in on the uncertainties of North Korea and new leader, Kim Jong-Un

By: Jaho Koo, News Editor

kimjongun

On Mar. 30, North Korea announced that the sixty year old Korean Armistice Agreement was over, and it has now entered a state of war.

To exemplify their claim, the North has cut the only phone line that existed between itself and South Korea.  The North appears to have decided to cast aside all means of peaceful talks, and prepare for violent means instead.

However, most of the  students and faculty members have said the North’s violent approach is nothing new. “They’ve always bullied their way through things and that’s what’s going on,” said Kate Cho, sophomore.

“They just want rice,” said Chanmin Sung.

“It would be suicidal [for the North to bomb the South],” said Kevin Lee. The atmosphere in most students’ homes seems to be usual; they still attend school and go out on weekends.

However, there were some small exceptions. According to Mr. Rains,  one person fled from Korea to be away from the nuclear threats. “I still don’t think it’s anything big and this individual will return when things cool down.”

Kelvin Lee shared the somewhat serious atmosphere in his family, “My father told me to go down to Jeonju if anything happens. He told us to go down to the subway to be sheltered from the bombs.” Still Kelvin himself believes he is in a safe environment.

Some unusual events have caused students to question the safety of the situation. There have been times when classes have been interrupted by public announcements about bomb safety. “The announcement vans go by sometimes but nobody really pays attention,” said Yoon Huh.

There were rumors surrounding the fire drill that was held on Apr. 10 and its relation to the North’s threats however, it was just a normal fire drill.

Additionally, a bomb threat was issued in Suwon, and a bomb disposal unit appeared in front of the Yeongtong Starbucks on Apr. 16 While this seemed to cause  mixed emotions to those in the local community, others believed it was a military practice drill. However, these bomb precautions were taken just four days after the Boston bombings.

Whether the threats are carried out or not, some students believe things are coming to an end. “I think it’s right before their last moment and they’re just trying to make a bigger scene out of it,” said Janice Kim.

The Lower Secondary Student Life Minister, Mrs. Jean Choi said, “I don’t think North Korea is going to continue the way they have been going…There will come a time when it blows over. I don’t know if it will be in the form of war or similar to how the Berlin Wallcame down.”

The primary concern with the threats, seem to do with North Korea’s new leader, Kim Jong-un. Ms. Eun Park, the Korean teacher, explained, “I see there are two reasons why people are a little bit concerned. Firstly, there’s a new dictator in North Korea that we don’t know much about. Secondly, right before he succeeded he attacked a South Korean territory […] The previous leaders were carrying out empty threats but this new leader we don’t understand if his threats are empty or not.’” She went on to clarify her overall thoughts, “Still although I understand why there would be a concern, I don’t think Kim Jong-Un would start a war that has no benefit for him.”

While most people are calm in Korea, families and friends living outside of the peninsula have expressed concern due to the attention the media tries to gain. “[The media] makes the situation look a lot bigger because that’s what they do, that’s their job to make issues out of things. So my family is like ‘are you ready to fly back? You should send your kids back,’” said Mrs. Jean Choe, “and I just joke and say ‘I would but I have to go to work tomorrow.’”

Mr. Rains shared a similar experience, “People I rarely even talk to, people I’ve barely seen get worried. But my immediate family knows not to worry because we’ve been through this before.”

The overarching consensus seems to be that the sky won’t be falling anytime soon. Since Mar. 30 tensions between North and South Korea have seemed to calm down. However, the North is likely to conduct a missile launch in the near future, while South Korea is adamant on reopening Kaesong factories, a joint industrial complex near the border.

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