Hawaii reacts to Korea conflict

Brian Cho
Brian Cho
Denny Roy
Denny Roy
Artillery fire
Artillery fire

By Teri Okita – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two South Korean Marines were killed and 18 others, including civilians and servicemembers, were injured in this latest confrontation.

South Korea's president is calling for "enormous retaliation" if there's another attack and some local residents say they're ready for it.

Restaurant owner Brian Cho has lived in Hawaii for 21 years. He still has family and friends back in his hometown of Seoul and says, despite the violence, they're not afraid.

"North Korea is isolated. That's why they're doing things like that. Show something like that we're still living a lie right now. We have still power," Cho said.

On Tuesday, North Korea shelled this South Korean island after warning its rival to stop nearby military exercises. But the North says it's the South that fired first.

South Korea denies that, saying it was acting in self-defense when it launched its own firepower. The clash lasted just over an hour in one of the most dramatic confrontations since the end of the Korean war.

"What's new and dramatic about this particular act is it involved dropping ordnance on South Korean territory," East-West Center's Denny Roy said.

The U.S. condemned the attack by North Korea and is urging both sides to keep their cool.

Twenty-eight-thousand U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea, and Hawaii is potentially within striking distance of a North Korean missile. But experts say any attack here in unlikely.

"It simply doesn't make sense strategically for the North Koreans to carry out that kind of act. It'd be suicidal on their part," Roy said.

For Brian Cho, who spent almost three years in the South Korean military, he'd be willing to re-enlist if his homeland was attacked.

"And you would go back if something happened?" Okita asked.

"Yes, I'm ready to go," Cho said.

Most are hopeful this is mere sabre-rattling that won't lead to more violence.

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