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  • Approved for CNN

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    Posted April 4, 2013 by
    polargrape
    Location
    Samcheok, South Korea
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    North Korea crisis: Your views

    More from polargrape

    Crisis?

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Canadian teacher Leigh MacArthur has lived in South Korea for almost a decade, and feels that much of the recent crisis with the North centers on its young new leader, Kim Jong Un. "I feel that he is having to prove himself to his military -- some of whom I'm guessing served under his grandfather -- that he is in fact in charge and still has his grandfather's and father's ideologies at heart," he says. In Samcheok in the east of South Korea, where he now lives, he says people are still very much carrying on with their lives, with no panic buying of essentials and people still carrying on with their day to day business. Regardless of what happens, he says war is not the answer, and that allowances must be made for the people of the impoverished North. "I would also like to see some form of a safety net for the civilians of North Korea, to ensure that they don't go hungry or get cold," he said.
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    The children are smiling, laughing and playing. A young couple is sitting on the patio of a coffee shop, perhaps on a first date. The local baseball league has a scheduled game between the Navy's team and the Coast Guard's team.

    According to various media reports, the Koreas are on the verge of a continuation of the Korean War that started over 60 years ago. As one walks down the street, one would never guess that it is really that close.

    There is a small village about a 15 minute drive from downtown that sits at the base of the Taebaek Mountain range along a river. Town legend says that for the entire 3 years of the original beginning of the Korean War, no one in the village knew that there was a war going on.

    Has there been an increase of military activity in this area along the east coast? Sure. While I was out taking photos of the sunrise, I noticed a lot more of the Navy's ships coming and going than normal. There hasn't been any extra activity in the skies from the fighter jets that like to practice overhead. There haven't been any air raid drills this year either.

    As people go on with their daily lives it is very easy to forget the fact that there are troops with guns and missiles just 100 kilometres to the north, apparently with a hair trigger.

    I've been living in Korea for almost 10 years. According to the English news media, this is the closest it has come to all out war in those 10 years. But so was the last time. I am not saying that it is being overblown. But like many of the Korean people who have heard this all before, and for a lot longer time than I, living in a small town that is closer to the North Korean border than it is to its own national capital city, I find it more and more difficult to worry about it. The first time, even the second and third times, it got me really worried. "What's going to happen? Where can I go to hide?" But for me, it really has become a case of the "Boy Who Cried Wolf".

    The question of "What should the international community do about North Korea?" is by no means an easy one. There are, for me, too many variables to come up with one solution or response. Ideally I would like to see the international community ignore the threats and do absolutely nothing. But at the same time, I do not want the innocent civilians to go hungry or cold. I am, at this point, more worried about those people than I am worried about my personal situation. Because, if nothing does ultimately happen from all of this, we are safe, but they would still be in the same situation.

    As of right now, there has not be any change to my daily life, or those in this town, and not really anything to be too concerned about. Of course, the clock never sleeps and who knows what might happen. Be prepared, and be alert. At this point that is all one can do. I feel that this also helps me squash any worried feelings that I might have.

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