Koreans in Indianapolis keeping eye on North Korean nuclear threats

Joseph Kim has friends and family in South Korea.
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The war threats from North Korea are getting louder. The U.S. is increasing its military presence in the region to thwart any attack.

The question now is: Should Hoosiers be worried?

Two Indianapolis men who grew up in the shadow of North Korean threats say no.

Among the millions of people living in Seoul South Korea are the families and friends of Joseph Kim, a Presbyterian Church youth minister.

"Am I scared ?" he asked.

Not really. Either is his friend, Charles Chae.

"I am quite worried," said the retired Lilly engineer.

Before Chae moved to America, he was a South Korean soldier, and before that a teenager living in a city overrun by North Korean soldiers. He remembers the brutality.

"One guy asked, 'What do you want to do with this guy?' Some guy said, 'Kill him.' And that's that," Chae said with sadness.

Kim, in his mid-20s, grew up hearing war stories and war warnings.

"North Korea frequently employed these rhetoric threats publicly," he said.

The threats were so frequent, they were mostly ignored. But this time, the threats are wilder, coming from 29-year-old Kim Jong-Un, an unpredictable new dictator that no one is certain what to make of.

"I am not scared, personally, but the situation is getting worse. They are more isolated from the international community," Kim said.

Chae's assessment is frightening.

"I feel like a three-year-old boy is playing with a loaded gun. When is he going to pull the trigger? You don't know," he said.

Chae visited his home and family last year. Two years ago, Kim's family celebrated his wedding to an American woman. Their loved ones are now living under threats of war getting louder every day.

"Every morning, we have a morning prayer and pray that God's guidance protects South Korea," Chae said.

Not counting the suburbs, 10 million people live in Seoul. It is three times bigger than Chicago and sits about 30 miles from North Korea. The enemy is as close to Seoul as Anderson is to Indianapolis.

Like most experts, both Chae and Kim are certain if shooting broke out, North Korea wouldn't stand a chance. But in addition to thousands of lives lost, they fear war could destroy the prosperity South Korea has worked 60 years to build.

North Korea links and resources