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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

July 21, 2006

Written by C.N.

Korean Americans React to North Korea

As tensions continue to rise against North Korea and its threats to use nuclear weapons against its perceived aggressors, it’s understandable that different Asian Americans will have different opinions about the issue. Perhaps most interested in these events are Korean Americans, many of whom have conflicted views on what to do:

In dealing with North Korea in the aftermath of unannounced missile tests, South Koreans face a major dilemma: many support punishing North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, but simultaneously they know the North Korean people will suffer. . . .

Several Korean American groups, including the Korean Marine Corps Veterans Association and the Korean Senior Center in Orange County, Calif., have issued statements in protest against the North and have called for a stronger stance from South Korea. . . . Others feel that the millions of dollars of aid sent to North Korea under South Korean President Kim Dae Jung’s Sunshine Policy contributed to Kim Jong-il’s efforts to maintain his regime. . . .

Many South Koreans fear for the fate of North Koreans residents should sanctions come to bear, and, according to a report in the Korea Daily in Seoul, while many still want sanctions they still want to continue to send aid to the North.

Interestingly, these different opinions on how to deal with a repressive totalitarian regime mirror the same disagreements that exist in the Vietnamese American community.

I don’t know what the best solution is regarding dealing with North Korea. However, in this context of debate and disagreement, I hope that Korean Americans (along with Vietnamese Americans and everybody else), will try to be civil toward others who have different opinions, rather than angrily denounce and personally vilify the other side, which unfortunately is too often the case even within Asian American communities.

In other words, let’s try to adopt a pan-Asian tolerance in terms of not just relationships with other Asian American ethnic groups, but among those in our own community as well.

Author Citation

Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Korean Americans React to North Korea" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <> ().

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