Oh North Korea.
My wife has been asked a very familiar question lately, as have many South Korean’s living abroad, I’m sure. How is your family coping? What will they do? Aren’t you worried? Of course all these questions stem from the recent focus of Western media on the North Korean Missile Crisis, as it tends to be called. The answer, usually to everyone’s shock is often confused. What do you mean? Oh because of North Korea? Not really.
For South Korean’s, Kim Jong-un, the young dictator and son of Kim Jong Il, is just another version of his father, making exaggerated statements and threats in order to get international attention. I wrote before about the death of the elder Kim and what it could mean if North and South unite. That was a year ago and as far as Korean’s are concerned, nothing has changed. It’s just business as usual.
If one were to observe the South Korean Capital, Seoul, you would see that no one is running out to stock up on tinned meat, children are going to school and worrying about cramming in 5 more hours of study each day, mobile handsets are still flying off the shelves and soju is flowing as usual in the many bars around the city.
In fact, I read an article the other day on http://qz.com that was logically sound. It was called: Are the Samsung chairman’s whereabouts a North Korea war threat indicator? and highlighted the fact that if any one person in South Korea were to be tipped off of an impending nuclear attack, it would be Samsun’g Chairman. He has connections to the North. He is a billionaire. He owns a company that specializes in the sort of technology found on nuclear missiles, in satellites used to track those missiles and in phones used to call other global billionaires and dictators to find out what’s going on. Since Lee Kun-hee just came back to Korea from a long vacation and seems to be staying, I believe, like many Koreans, that this is all just another empty threat from the North.
So what is really going on?
If you were into conspiracy theories, you might remember that there are serious nuclear talks going on with another crazy guy in Iran. The same region where there is a quickly forgotten war taking place in Syria between Iran and Israel. There is also a global power quickly overtaking the nervous USA who happen to also be North Korea’s only ally. The media know when a story is going stale. Whether they are diverting attention on purpose or simply just trying to find some new shiny thing to grab people’s attention, I’m not one to say. However, there are worse things going on in the world right now and more imminent dangers.
It’s just another day at the office.
You may all carry on.
China and US make North Korea nuclear pledge - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22131316