“Oh my goodness it’s another North Korean threat!”, thought the new South Korean expat. The expat then observes the South Koreans either their co-workers or friends. They even observe the attitudes of the expats that have been living there for maybe 5 or more years.
At first, particularly if they are American, they may wonder, “Why is no one concerned? Why am I and only a few of the other newbies concerned?” I found myself in this place a few times during the first couple months, only to find myself in a mostly general state of apathy like everyone else over time.
The reason for this significant lower level of anxiety developed by gradually becoming more aware of the situation. After learning and realizing the trends and clear facts, I can better understand why the US media and government seem to be much more concerned than the South Korean media. Here are some reasons why Americans shouldn’t be concerned.
1. Many of the threats that North Korea gives out are repeats of threats they have previously made. Obviously, from those threats nothing happened either. This is why many South Koreans have “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” attitude towards their threats.
2. The reason North Korea gives a threat is to draw attention to themselves. Often times, they are struggling and looking for some sort of aid. Once it is received, they quiet down.
3. What most Westerners don’t realize is that despite the fact that Korea is divided, there are business transactions that take place between the two. Every single Samsung product has some small part of it made in North Korea. For this reason, South Koreans have told me they will only be concerned about war if the North cuts off these transactions. Yet, obviously, they would be only hurting themselves more by doing so.
4. China is basically North Korea’s only ally, so China’s attitude towards the North’s plans can be a huge impact on what happens. If China is not supporting them, they back off.
Another reason that I’m not too heavily concern is that, realistically, in the chance that something were to happen a war would start and end pretty quick. Maybe a day or two. East Asia is filled with military bases all waiting for any activity out of North Korea. If they North also attempted to hit the US mainland, I also can’t see why such a long ranged missile couldn’t be spotted and shot down before it did any damage.
Of course, if any of the factors that I’ve mentioned changed then I could see a reason to be concerned. I just don’t feel that based upon the current situation, it is anything worth sweating about.
More by Jennifer:
Korean Culture: Social Etiquette
Benefits of Korean Red Ginseng
Best Sledding Hills in South Korea