Local Koreans Speak Out About Future Between US, North Korea
MCALLEN – President Trump calls the release of three Korean-Americans, a special moment for world peace. However, some Rio Grande Valley Koreans share the same sentiment with some uncertainty.
UTRGV Political Science Assistant Professor Dr. Dongkyu Kim describes the homecoming as “dramatic”, though not surprising.
“The bottom line is there is no history of trust between these countries: North Korea, South Korea, China, United States, and Russia,” he says. “As you can see from the prisoners’ release, there is resolve, I think, we can build a trust. There are many, many cases in history. North Korea tried to use those prisoners as a bargaining chip to get money, food. This time, even unexpectedly, they released them. It shows the resolve.”
Dr. Kim compares the recent release to one from just a year ago.
“Otto Warmbier… When he was released, he arrived in the United States with a coma. Then, he passed away,” he says.
Warmbier spent a year and a half in a North Korean jail for theft of a propaganda poster. He made back to the U.S. last year but not in a good shape as the recent releases.
“They had to work a lot in the labor camp, but also, when they were sick, they were well treated by North Korea. That also shows the difference in attitude by the North Korean government,” he says.
Joseph Kim, born and raised in South Korea, moved to the U.S. in 1992. He says, “the people of South Korea – they support this situation.”
He agrees the release is a bright sign and step in the right direction. His hopes though, he says, are not too high.
“I think it is a good sign that North Korea did release three Korean-Americans,” he tells us. “Still uncertainty because North Korea – they lied so many times. It takes time."
Kim says, ultimately, Koreans want to see the north and south finally united.
Both men look forward to seeing the outcome of next month's summit meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un.
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