North Korea missile draws mixed emotions from Korean-Americans in Anchorage
Chuck Kim says the latest news about North Korea’s missile launch Friday makes him feel “antsy.” The Pentagon confirms it was a second intercontinental ballistic missile and analysts said it appeared possible it could hit cities like Los Angeles and Chicago. It traveled more than 600 miles and landed in the Sea of Japan.
The first one was launched July 4, where analysts have said it could’ve reached Alaska if it were going at a different trajectory.
Kim moved to Alaska from Seoul more than four decades ago, but his brother still lives there.
“He lives right in the heart of Seoul and I am sure that would be one of the main targets of something were to erupt,” he said.
CBS News reports a spokesperson for the Japanese government said the missile launched Friday, flew for about 45 minutes — about five minutes longer than the ICBM on July 4 — and landed west of Japan’s island of Hokkaido.
Jeffrey Lewis, an arms control analyst, told CBS News,”We’re in a relationship where we can destroy them, and they can destroy us, and we may not like it but that’s where we are.”
Kim said he wasn’t worried hearing the first ICBM could’ve reached Alaska, citing confidence in the U.S. and its allies to respond properly if something did travel to North America.
“We have a strong belief in the American defense system that if such an attempt was made, then they would be knocked down somewhere in the Pacific,” Kim said.
But he said if any growing threat were to lead to a military response, he worries Korean citizens will especially be at risk.
“There will be casualties if we take the military route,” he said.
Paul Moon, who is a former vice president of the Asian Cultural Center in Anchorage, is also nervous about what could happen in his motherland. He currently has a brother and sister who still live in Seoul.
“Tension is getting higher because of the missile test,” he said. “There are a lot of younger generations and they really hope for a better future and peaceful life, but that one action, one bad decision, could change the whole Korea.”
Moon says from afar and for people living in South Korea, he stresses the need for communities to be aware of the potentially dangerous situation.
“I think awareness is very important,” he said. “Every kid to adult — we all need to be aware about how dangerous things are. We don’t want to see anymore of war for everybody, I think.”
Moon’s hope for communities and officials: “Prepare, prepare, prepare — it’s the only key, I think.”
Congress has passed a bill to put economic sanctions against North Korea, Russian and Iran.
“The message coming from Congress on a bipartisan basis is, these are hostile regimes and sanctions are warranted,” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R – WI, said. “Sanctions are called for.”
However, President Donald Trump hasn’t signed it yet.