A Derry man living in Seoul, South Korea, has said he is surprised at how calmly locals have reacted to the threat of nuclear war from North Korea.
North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, earlier this week declared a state of war with his southern neighbour. He also threatened to increase his country’s nuclear capability. South Korea and the U.S. have warned Kim Jong-un of military retaliation.
The border between Republic of Korea (South) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North) is one of the most fortified places in the world. Hollymount Park man Gerard McGahon has lived in Seoul for the last four years. He admits to watching the television news a lot more often than before the threat was made.
“All the drama is on the TV but the Koreans really don’t care about it. It’s very relaxed here at the moment. Obviously everyone’s talking about it because it’s all over the news but there’s no panic.
“Everyone is going about their day-to- day life as usual. It is a bit like that other North/South divide I grew up in, it’s there but not really. Another troubled North!”
Like his neighbours Gerard was also treating the threat with a certain amount of disdain:
“I’m about 40km from the border but I am on a huge mountain - they would have to shoot straight up in the air to get me!
“There is no chance it’s going to happen, the North Koreans would be digging their own grave, but you just never know. In some ways it really isn’t ever too far from your mind. There are times it seems like it is all going mad here with the treat of nuclear powers taking action against each other. I just want home to me mammy’s and the safety of the Top of The Hill,” he laughed.
Despite his cavalier attitude Gerard admits: “The Irish Embassy have advised Irish passport holders to register with them and have a list of things at hand, such as a passport, in case of an emergency. We have also been advised on locating evacuation shelters in the district we live.”