Local/State

Locals react to the death of Kim Jong II

Monday, December 19, 2011

The death of Kim Jong II has prompted mixed reaction from Philadelphia's South Korean community.

The surprise is still washing over Ike Lee. The Korean War veteran has been glued to the news streaming on his computer at the Korean Community Development Services Center in Olney.

"When I heard he died, I had two major concerns in my mind. Number one was, how is it going to be a peaceful power transition and number two, I was concerned about nuclear power problems," he said.

Moo Yoo, a senior advisor at the non-profit came to Philadelphia from South Korea.

He, like many, are questioning the experience of Kim's third son and successor Kim Jong Un and what kind of sway he'll hold with established military leaders and advisers.

"I don't know how much military power he has. If you don't have military power in North Korea, you're done," said Yoo.

In his Olney home, Kent Suh spoke of the famine and inhumane treatment that many suffered under Kim's dictatorship, adding the people of North Korea have been isolated from the rest of the world.

The former President of the Korean-American Association of Greater Philadelphia spoke about the contrast of living conditions between Pyongyang and rural communities.

"Television shows only Pyongyang of people crying do all kinds of reaction, but I don't think that's entire North Korea," said Suh.

Suh like many are hoping new leadership will bring new unity and transparency to North Korea.

"I think it's getting better, I hope anyway now we have a chance," he said.

Alot of questions remain about Kim Jong Un like what his policy and his leadership style will be.

Many people say they will watch closely as the transition unfolds.

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Tags:
pennsylvania, philadelphia, olney, north korea, local/state, katherine scott
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