Korean-American U of I Alum Concerned But Not Worried About North Korean Attack
A recent University of Illinois graduate who headed a student group focusing on North Korean human rights abuses said that neither he, nor his family or other Koreans he knows are very worried about the attack Tuesday on South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island escalating into a more serious conflict. Dan Han said the shelling --- which killed four people --- fits the North Korean pattern.
"They have a history of provocation against South Korea," Han said. "And this is one of their ways that they can use to, if you will, extort aid and money and goods out of South Korea and other nations."
Han graduated last spring with a degree in finance from the University of Illinois' Urbana campus, where he was president of the campus chapter of LINK: Liberty in North Korea. He said evidence of force by North Korea have not done much to worry South Korean students on the U of I campus --- partly because they are too young to remember the Korean War of the 1950s.
"I think the generation growing up in South Korea is a generation that has not had the exposure that the older generation had," he said. "So they're not as concerned, they're not as worried. The older generation might be more worried about reunification between the two Koreas.The younger generation may be more concerned with keeping separate, to keep the South Korean economy intact."
In contrast, Han said Korean-American students who grew up in the U-S usually base their apathy about North Korea on its being a distant country to them. On the other hand, he said Korean-Americans were more likely than South Korean natives to be concerned about human rights in North Korea.
Han, who now lives in New Jersey, says if the shelling of Yeonpyeong is a particular cause for concern, it may be because it went beyond military targets to focus on civilian areas.