New Zealand Koreans remain calm
As tensions between North Korea and the United States near boiling point, Korean New Zealanders are keeping a calm outlook.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un again sent shockwaves around the world, when he launched a ballistic missile that flew over Japan before it crashed into the Pacific, on September 15.
The move sparked global condemnation, tighter sanctions imposed by the United Nations and an inflammatory response from US President Donald Trump.
Immigration New Zealand area manager Marcelle Foley said as of June there were five North Koreans and more than 26,000 South Koreans living in New Zealand.
While it appeared from the outside that tensions were at an all time high between the two nuclear states, the Korean Society of Auckland believed war was simply not a possibility.
‘‘Our view is that active conflict is not a possibility on the Korean Peninsula,’’ a spokesperson said.
‘‘Both the North and South are committed to keeping it that way. As Koreans, we are all ready to do our part to keep peace at the top of the agenda.’’
Doing their part, from a military standpoint, was a tradition for Korean males aged 18 to 25. Under South Korean law every male must complete two years of mandatory military service.
The Military Manpower Administration of Korea said it was considered an ‘‘expression of loyalty to the nation’’.
Once completed, soldiers were transferred to reserve units. These reserves could then be called upon during an emergency or wartime.
However, despite service being near unavoidable for Korean residents, the rules change slightly for dual citizens.
Holders of a Korean New Zealand dual citizenship could renounce their Korean citizenship and in doing so, become exempt from mandatory service.
This ment that if war broke out, dual citizens could chose to stay in New Zealand and not answer a call to arms. Those who left Korea before undergoing their military training would not be called upon regardless of citizenship.
Trump’s latest attack on North Korea came during his address to the United Nations general assembly on September 20, In which he threatened to ‘‘totally destroy’’ the country should JongUn’s nuclear tests continue.