Some Korean-Americans in Philly urge caution after Trump-Kim summit

'We wish it is real this time.'

Mark Abrams
June 12, 2018 - 1:00 pm
Kim Jong Un shakes hands with Donald Trump

Xinhua/Sipa USA

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Some of Philadelphia's Korean-American community are urging caution about the immediate results of Tuesday's summit between North Korea and the United States. 

Bok Won Kang, civil affairs officer of the Korean American Association of Greater Philadelphia, says many in the Korean community in the U.S. are suspicious of dictator Kim Jong Un and his motivation for coming to the table.

"We wish it is real this time. You know, (that) he's honest and that he's going to do what the paper says he's going to do this time. We hope. I don't think he will do it. But we just pray he will do that," Kang said.

He says North Korea's track record on past committments to the United States and the international community is poor. He says it's all about Kim maintaining power by seeking help for the crumbling North Korean economy.

"They are in a bad, bad, bad situation right now," Kang said. "So he wants some help from all of the world right now."

Kang said that, while Korean-Americans are cautiously optimistic, they believe the U.S. will have a hard time getting Kim to uphold his word.

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Philadelphia City Councilman David Oh is a Korean American and has been studying the summit developments. "It is important that they have come to sit down with the United States in regards to de-nuclearizing and, perhaps, finding ways to work together with the U.S. and South Korea for better economic stability," Oh said.

He, too, believes there's much more to accomplish.

"There is a lot at stake there," Oh said. "And, I think it is not determined yet, but it is a first step to see come to fruition."

Both agree the historic meeting has the potential to stablize the Asian region, but they caution that it ultimately is up to Kim to stand by his commitment to make it so.