North Korea's Antics from Seoul's Perspective
North Korea. Missile testing. Nuclear weapons. President Trump. If there's anything making headlines this week, it's news about North Korea and the apparent possibility of heading into a very nasty war.
Yet while the rest of the world seems to be in shambles with this "news", South Korea, their closest neighbor, seems to be pretty at peace. People are still going to work, school, meeting their friends on the weekends, shopping, eating out, laughing, living as normal. For a country that is said to soon become a battleground, according to international news, everyone seems pretty unconcerned. Sure, Korean news outlets and 7 o' clock news don't fail to keep their citizens updated with the latest news, but that's just it. They tell the facts, the solid news, only the things that have already happened, and nothing more. To them, this is just another day living with one of "the most dangerous" countries as their next door neighbor. After years of empty threats and war scares post Korean War, it's almost like citizens have grown desensitized to the idea of North Korea making a move.Missles test? Psh, that happens every year. Threats? Oh yeah right, that happens about every month.
So while international news is thoroughly combing through and analyzing every little moment, Koreans live unbothered.
You would think they would be massively concerned- after all, the Korean War was practically just yesterday in history terms. Many of the elderly still remember when South Korea won, separated, and rebuilt its country into the booming economic powerhouse it is today. Yet it's rarely even talked about- to the people here, work and taking care of their children is more prevalent in their minds than just another threat from North Korea. Remember the story, The Boy Who Cried Wolf? Perfect example of what's going on here. Besides, they know that what's even more dangerous that Kim Jong Un himself is what Trump may end up doing in case of war (but that's another story for another day). Expats seem more concerned than natives- worried family members from abroad seem to be calling in and begging them to come home. Yet the embassies have said nothing and friends in the American military in Korea seem unconcerned as well.
This is not to say there is zero chance of something big erupting- this is one of the closest we've been to war since the Korean War. But from the way natives are taking it, it puts things in perspective, doesn't it? How accurate is all this news stuff, anyway?
Is international news oversensationalizing the prospect? Maybe just a bit. Should Koreans be more concerned? Perhaps; only time will tell. But for now, be weary of sources and news outlets with blaring headlines and click bait photos. If anything, they're only adding to the pandemonium and giving North Korea the attention it wants.
Soo Hyun is a correspondent for We the Ppl, based in Seoul, South Korea.