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Local Korean, Guam communities react to talk about military attacks

LYNNWOOD, Wash. — A dance studio at the Morning Star Korean Cultural Center in Lynnwood is a gathering space whether North or South comes before the Korea these ladies are from.

“The people who live in South Korea, they don’t consider North Koreans a separate country, the South Koreans still see the North Koreans as family,” said artistic director Sinea Cheh.

Cheh says being born in South Korea and raised in the United States, she sees the impact the rhetoric from the North Korean regime has on families who call both countries home.

“I grew up here, I know the pain of the divided nation for the older generation,” said Cheh.

The older generation, like Cheh's father, who moved to the United States, 37 years ago from South Korea. He says talk of nuclear attacks do affect him.

"I'm very worried about it. We just want a good relationship with North Korea, even the United States,” said Chang Hyo Daniel Cheh, senior pastor of Bethany Church in Lynnwood.

The U.S, response by President Donald Trump has been more aggressive talk than past administrations, which have responded to repeated threats from Pyongyang with more diplomatic responses.

“The North Korean threat has been real for more than a year or two. It has been real for decades. So the Korean community has come to a point where we’re desensitized to the threats,” said Cheh.

The latest threats also affect Guamanians in Seattle.

"Very sad and scary. Only because Guam is really tiny,” said Melody Arreola who is from Guam and lives in Seattle with her fiancé. They both agree with the Cheh’s who say Kim Jung Un is focused on showcasing a powerful image.

“North Korea is mostly all talk, he wants to keep his name,” said Arreola.

The hope that it is all just talk, but Arreola says if it’s not, Guam is prepared.

“We have hope, the military is really strong,” she said.