Hi all, sorry for the intermission of blog postings. My daily life has become pretty normal and I have become pretty adapted to it, as Sebastian has already written about so elegantly. Anyway, many of you have been asking me what is going on in North Korea and some of you have been asking me to post another blog. So here is to killing two birds with one stone.
The following is a Facebook message with my cousin.
"Hey man, I am doing great! I am really loving it out here despite all of the political tension of the past two months. My job is super awesome and Korean culture is like nothing I have ever experienced.
As of right now, I am totally safe. If something does break out here, however, I have a "go bag" with pretty much everything I need in it, even though I wouldn't really have anywhere to go haha. Since I am so close to North Korea, I think I would actually be safer waiting it out than trying to go anywhere.
But let me explain what is going on. I will try to be as brief as possible because it is a pretty complicated situation even though there is really nothing to worry about (in my opinion). First of all, no one in South Korea is freaking out. North Korea has been saying things like this for the past 60 years and the constant threat of attack has become familiar to the South Koreans and is even ingrained into their culture. However, they are still a little nervous about the current situation since Kim Jong-un is new and has yet to prove his "strength" to his people. However, Jung-un is smart enough, I think, to understand that he has absolutely no chance of victory and, therefore, is playing a very clever but dangerous game.
North Korea is a disaster economically and the people are starving to death. Jung-un's number one priority is the economy and he thinks that the only way to fix it is by pushing to the very brink of war then opening up negotiations. Now, with nuclear capabilities, North Korea has a stronger hand to play and might be able to bargain for access to the World Bank or other foreign investments. They might even try for the right to use nuclear power for energy purposes.
However, even this is a dangerous scenario. Things could very easily escalate further than what either side wants if neither is able to compromise. Part of me thinks that the USA won't agree to any concessions thus provoking North Korea to make good on its threats. I highly doubt that it will start with a nuclear strike since Jung-un knows that they would be wiped off the map. North Korea's strongest point is their conventional military. They have a 1.3 million-man army with another 8 million in reserves, which far exceeds the 30,000 troops that America has here and the 650,000-man South Korean army with 3.2 million in reserves. But again, it is really unlikely that North Korea would be able to hold Seoul for over a week or two since their equipment is so outdated and they have very little fuel for their tanks and airplanes.
In the mean time, the conflict is being perpetuated by western media. It is actually pretty interesting how Americans are more concerned about North Korea than South Korea is especially when America is well outside the strike range of North Korean missiles while Seoul is only about 35 miles away.
So there it is. I have been following the events pretty closely just like all the foreigners who are totally freaking out right now haha. But I am almost certain that nothing will happen. More than likely, North Korea will just stop everything all at once and go back to starving to death and conspiring some other way to get more rice. Maybe next time they won't be so dramatic."