WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – As President Trump and Kim Jong Un trade words and North Korea amps up their nuclear weapon development, many Americans are living with fear.
That’s not the case for two students at Wichita State University, both originally from South Korea.
“I think the threat has been present ever since I was young or even before I was born. It’s been consistent, I just think it’s been fired up a lot more recently,” said Seulki Lee, a WSU student with a teaching degree.
Lee is from Goesan, South Korea and her family still lives there. She said they don’t talk politics but she knows her family does not fret.
“With North Korea’s leader, he’s very unpredictable,” Lee added.
Another student at Wichita State, international business major Sung Hun Do, formerly served in the Republic of Korea Air Force.
“I like to use this analogy a lot but, North Korea in my opinion is a kid crying for a toy…the kid is crying because the kid wants a toy, but then the mom’s not going to buy it for him,” Do said.
Do is from Suwon, South Korea. His family remains there and he echoed Lee’s perspective on Kim Jong-un.
“There’s too much risk, there’s too many things for the dictator and the people in power to lose to war,” Do said.
KSN spoke to Dr. Michael Hall with the political science department at Wichita State to unpack the advancements in Korea’s nuclear potential.
“Even just a year or two ago our best experts were estimating that they still were several years off from having the ability to deliver any kind of nuclear weapon that could hit the United States,” Hall explained. “This is simply the first rogue nation in a long time that has not only threatened to hit the United States, but has been known to show the capacity to do it.”
Trump and Kim Jong-un exchanged insulting nicknames this week with Trump calling the dictator a “madman” and Jong-un calling Trump “deranged.” Hall said Trump by no means caused the crisis in North Korea, but his use of harsh words could exacerbate it.
Hall says the final piece of the puzzle for the threat to the United States to be complete would be a re-entry vehicle for North Korea’s missiles.
“To be intercontinental, (missiles) would have to go above the atmosphere and re-land onto the Earth, which means they have the potential to burn in the Earth’s atmosphere if there’s not some sort of vehicle that protects them from burning up. We are not sure at this point what North Korea has, but that’s the last piece of puzzle they would need and we’re not sure they actually have that yet,” Hall said.