The War of Two Koreas

Words by: Nadz Ruiz

With South Korea, US and Japan all poised to strike at a moment’s notice, everyone else is calling for restraint when it comes to this issue as to prevent going past the point of no return

A History of Animosity

But as international news agencies and analysts were quick to point out, North Korea has been in a state of war with South Korea since 1950. The two Koreas signed a truce in 1953, meaning a temporary cessation of war hostilities and not a peace treaty. But, North Korea has been threatening to attack the South and US military bases almost on a daily basis ever since. With constant threat of war, the Japanese, US and South Korean armed forces have been trained to stay on the highest alert.

Calling for Restraint

With South Korea, US and Japan all poised to strike at a moment’s notice, everyone else is calling for restraint when it comes to this issue as to prevent going past the point of no return.

Russia, which has a sort of restrained optimistic view of North Korea, a Soviet-era client state, calls on the US and South Korea to refrain from any belligerent actions. The reemergence of war is the last thing they want and is totally unacceptable.

France and China meanwhile are deeply worried about the tensions on the Korean peninsula. The Philippines, on the other hand, has offered the US their military bases, if any war with North Korea does break out.

DFA Taking Action

On April 5, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III ordered Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario to the Philippine Embassy in Seoul to oversee the preparations for a possible evacuation of nearly 50,000 Filipinos currently in South Korea. Despite this, Aquino said that there is no reason for the public to be alarmed of the situation.

The Department of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Raul Hernandez said that their figures show that there are five to seven Filipinos in North Korea but they did not know if they were still residing there or have already returned to the Philippines.

The Department of Foreign Affairs raised alert level 1 for Filipinos working and residing in South Korea. This means that the Filipinos in South Korea were already informed about the situation and were urged to be prepared for any situation.

He added that the Philippine embassy in South Korea is ready to roll out their contingency plan if a full-blown war erupts between the two Koreas. It also deployed carrier airplanes for repatriation in the event of a full-scale war. He said alert level three will merit a relocation of Filipinos to unaffected areas while level four will involve mandatory repatriation.

However, he assured that the overall situation in South Korea remains normal and calm. In a separate report, a group of Filipino students in South Korea assured their friends and family that “things remain calm and normal” and “it is business as usual.” Nevertheless, they are in touch with the Philippine Embassy for any instructions as the need arises.

Back Home

Back home, the state of war between the two Koreas garnered mixed reactions. Some are worried of their relatives and kababayans in South Korea. Others are worried of the fallout from missiles and the effects of a nuclear attack on the country. Several netizens preferred to make light of the situation, saying they won’t be able to watch their favorite Korean shows and celebrities if North Korea bombs South Korea. Those who have been following the news shook their heads and chalked it up to North Korea’s seeming penchant for outrageous but unbacked threats and claims.

Interviews with Filipinos in South Korea also revealed mixed reactions. In a TV interview, one Filipino residing in South Korea said the situation was “alarming,” while the other said, “we remain calm and everything is normal.” Of course, they are prepared for any untoward incidents.

Close to a month after North Korea’s declaration, Pyongyang has to make a significant move. The world is still watching for any concrete proof that North Korea will make true its words. The DFA is still on heightened alert. In the meantime, it seems that everything is in status quo. Until the worst happens, all the world can do now is hope for peace.

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