As the U.S. government continues to insist that North Korea's nuke tests are an imminent threat to America's safety, Scene
foreign correspondent Katherine Robbins let's us know what's really what.
Robbins recently left Akron for South Korea, where she's teaching English for the next year. She's living in a cockroach-infested apartment as far from the alleged nuke test site as Ravenna is from Akron. Here's her take on the situation:
So, it is a really interesting situation to view 55 kilometers from the DMZ. It certainly adds an element of excitement to my life here. Maybe I will be able to add Prisoner of War to my resume yet! I am registered with the embassy, which is about 15 minutes by subway. I clocked it the other day ... no just kidding, but I should work some drills into my daily routine.
The embassy will notify me immediately as an American that I need to get the motherflip out of here. I am reading American news and listening to what my students tell me. Nobody here is afraid of North Korea. They are afraid of what the United States is going to do. The U.S. keeps saying there is no intention of invasion, but if NK provokes them, the wrath of Condie Rice will be felt, I suppose.
NK keeps saying if the US talks like that, they will take it as a declaration of war. My favorite part about all this mayhem is that the bombs they tested may not in fact be nuclear weapons. North Korea is so isolated. They might have the technology, they might not. East Germany was known for gratuitous displays of technological bravado during the communist days, too. It makes sense in the ideology of North Korea to want this kind of attention and to just fake it until they make it.
It's really sad. The people are suffering in the North; children are starving. South Koreans seem ashamed and pretty tight-lipped about the situation. Most South Koreans say that any conflict with North Korea means that reunification is that much closer. At this point, I am with France, who says the bombs are not of the nuclear nature and North Korea is putting on desperate displays for world attention.
Bush is going to put as much spin as possible on the situation, but essentially the US has no interest in North Korea, so I am not worried about any sort of US aggression here. Kim Jong Il is going to throw some temper tantrums perhaps. There may be violence involved. I'll leave if they tell me to, but until then, it just seems silly to do that.