By Gina Martinez
Elected officials gathered in front of Flushing Town Hall last Thursday, denouncing President Donald Trump’s threat against North Korea.
Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) and Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) stood with community leaders urging the Trump administration to seek a diplomatic resolution with North Korea following the president’s controversial comments promising “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” in response to the isolated communist nation’s missile tests.
According to the elected officials, the recent heated rhetoric between the current administration and the government of North Korea has emphasized the vital importance of focusing on diplomatic channels and peaceful measures to resolve ongoing disputes. They also noted that millions of lives are at stake, not only within the Korean peninsula, but across the wider Asia-Pacific region.
Many Korean Americans who still have family members and relatives living in South Korea said they were alarmed by the president’s words. Local residents and members of the Korean American community in Flushing attended the press conference to voice their concerns on the matter.
Kim spoke about his recent visit with 24 young North Korean refugees he hosted on a visit to the New York State Capitol a few weeks prior. He said the meeting had given him insight and hope that it was still possible to work toward a nonviolent solution, because the majority of North Koreans were everyday people seeking to better their lives.
“As elected officials, we know that the words and actions of all public servants can have enormous and often unforeseen consequences,” Kim said. “This president’s recent threats and careless rhetoric have put the lives of millions of people at risk. Countless Korean Americans, including myself, have relatives or family members who live in the Korean peninsula, and who are now in greater danger as a result of his statements.”
Meng said that North Korea is a rogue regime whose threats and rhetoric continue to be explosive and outrageous, and that President Trump’s inflammatory language only further escalates tensions and does nothing to stabilize the region.
“His comments are irresponsible and potentially endangers the lives of South Korean citizens and U.S. personnel stationed in South Korea,” Meng said. “We will always defend our country and our friend and ally, South Korea, should Kim Jong-Un make good on his threats. Dialogue and diplomacy, not bombastic language or saber rattling, must be the way forward for achieving a peaceful resolution.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart