December 20, 2010

Korean Muscle Flexing

Today was an interesting day here in Korea. The South Korean Government announced that it would hold its planned live fire drills on Yeonpyeong Island. For the first time since I have been here the locals seemed on edge. I admit, I was as well. In my opinion this challenge to the North would not go without response. North Korean rhetoric was at the highest level I have ever seen. The North claimed that these exercises would result in a nuclear response. The drills were scheduled to begin at 1pm but were postponed due to fog. I spoke with my boss around 2:30pm and he seemed to believe that today may be a rough day. I threw a glance toward the blue Northern sky and hoped for the best. Thankfully the exercise was directing its fire away from the Northern coast.
Shortly after the chat with my boss the firing began. An hour later with no response from the North the day simply went on as usual. It really hit me today what many already have experienced. War does happen all too regularly. War brewing on your doorstep is a strange kind of anxiety. I can't describe the feeling. Laughter at the situation seems a natural way to cope. The situation is completely out of the hands of the masses and it makes you feel rather helpless and small.

I am quite perplexed by it all now. My instinct told me that this exercise was going to be a catalyst toward the worst. I currently don't understand either side of this bisected peninsula. The statement from the North is that the exercise "was not worth a passing thought". How strange that the rhetoric was amped up so high and diffused by such a offhand remark? How could the South choose to flirt with such a disaster in the first place? I obviously still don't understand Koreans and may never do so.


Post a Comment