Local Korean-Americans React To Escalations Along The DMZ

(CBS) — Some Chicago area Korean-Americans are reacting with a little more fear and trepidation about North Korean threats, than South Koreans seem to be.

CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports.

On the boulevards of Seoul and in the coffee shops of the South Korean capital, life seems unchanged.

There doesn’t seem to be much fear. The missile-rattling from the young untested communist leader to the North, Kim Jung Un, doesn’t seem to be fazing them.

In Chicago, among the 60,000 Korean-Americans living here, that attitude is understood. After all, threats and dark promises have been hurled from the North for decades.

Korean American Coalition President Karen Huang explains: “They’re not going to let it stop them from resuming their daily activities. We’ve all heard this story before.”

But Huang says now that the threats are coming from a young leader creates a “little bit” of alarm.

For Andrew Hong, there’s more than a little alarm. “It takes one man’s mistake to start a war,” he says.

Hong is the young Korean-American economist who helps defectors from the so called “Hermit Kingdom” settle in the U.S.

“My parents still live in South Korea,” he says. “I think they started to worry more after I shared what I thought. I’m praying that everything will be okay, but since recently, I started developing a sinister kind of outlook.”

Hong’s group isn’t exactly overrun by fleeing defectors. It is so difficult and dangerous to escape only a few thousand manage to get out every year. There are only about 150 North Korean defectors with refugee status in this country.

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