Local Community Reacts to North Korean Missile Threat

Dr. Sheila Smith
Dr. Sheila Smith
Mark Sim
Mark Sim

(KHNL) -- Two countries may be flexing their firepower this week.

On a launch pad in North Korea, sits a long range missile capable of striking Hawaii, and possibly the U.S. west coast.

But in Hawaiian waters, sits another missile, ready to launch.

That U.S. missile is reportedly a defensive one, designed to knock out rocket propelled weapons, after being launched from Navy ships.

There was supposed to be a test Wednesday, but a small boat went into the launch area. So it was postponed.

As for North Korea's missile, its launch time and purpose both remain a mystery.

It's message from a secretive country in the form of a missile, waiting to be launched.

The missle could travel up to 9,000 miles and possibly pose a threat to the mainland U.S.

"This launch if it does happen will give military people around the world an awful lot of information about North Korea's military capabilities," says University of Hawaii Regional Relations Fellow Dr. Sheila Smith.

For Koreans here in the islands, talk on the radio is focused more on the threat from World Cup soccer opponents, than the latest threat from the North.

But this bold move, which some see as taking aim at the U.S., did catch some by surprise.

"Going against the U.S. is something we never expected from North Korea," says Radio Seoul's Mark Sim.

While a North Korea that could damage our country is something new for the United States, it is not new for South Koreans who have lived with a looming threat for decades and the fears that come with it.

"We're not scared of North Koreans. We're scared of their concept.  They think nothing of having war," says Sim.

But others see this possible missile launch as a way North Korea can get Washington to open up talks with this communist country. A country, that instead of threatening us, wants to stop being an enemy.

"What they want is normalized relations with the U.S., they want our economic investments. They want an agreement, they want a diplomatic relationship that will end the threat of the U.S. to North Korea," says Smith.