North Texas Koreans React to Kim Jong Il's Death

News of Kim Jong Il's death is sending shock waves through North Dallas

By Christine Lee
|  Monday, Dec 19, 2011  |  Updated 5:23 PM CDT
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Several members of Irving's Korean community discuss the potential impact of Kim Jong Il's death.

Christine Lee, Irving Reporter

Several members of Irving's Korean community discuss the potential impact of Kim Jong Il's death.

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News of Kim Jong Il's death is sending shock waves through North Dallas.

Many Korean Americans living in the DFW area are worried about their families who live in South Korea. South Koreans have lived for decades with constant fear of being invaded by North Korea.

Jounghae Kim, an Irving resident, has two brothers who live in South Korea. "[I was] just shocked and I couldn't sleep too well," Kim said when she first learned of the North Korean dictator's death.

Kim has two brothers living in South Korea and said she worried about their safety. "They panic, but they can't do must about it. Just wait and see."

Kim told her mother, Seungeun Park, the news on Sunday night.

“My heart dropped,” Park said after learning that Kim Jong Il had really died.

Park, who is in her 80s, lived through the Korean War. She recalls hearing the deafening sound of endless bullets piercing through the sky and pouring down on her homeland. Although she said that times have changed, she is still wary of some South Korean politicians and possible North Korean refugees living in the South.

Korean shoppers at Komart Marketplace in Irving were also wary of what would come next.

“We hope, we pray, [that] everybody stay at peace,” said Max Lee. Lee’s parents live in South Korea, and Lee said they didn’t seem too concerned at the moment.

“I didn’t expect he just die like that,” said Seong Park. Park, who also have relatives living in South Korea, said while he was worried about their well being, he also looked at the situation in a positive light.

“A lot of hope, yes. A lot of hope that this might be a chance for a new, a chance for a transformation,” said Park.

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