Queens Koreans Divided Over Olympics

A poster at a bus shelter at Northern and Parsons boulevards in Flushing, put up by Ted Han, says: “Pyeongchang is NOT Pyongyang, North Korea. Don’t be fooled by Pyongyang Propaganda.” (Photo by Ted Han via Queens Chronicle)

Businessman Ted Han, who served in the South Korean navy, is displeased with how his native country is reaching out to North Korea, so much so that he paid to put up a poster at a bus shelter in Flushing. In previous years, he placed an advertisement in the same spot celebrating the U.S.-South Korea alliance and another in Times Square that said: “DPRK: Stop nuclear gamble!”

Queens Chronicle’s Ryan Brady speaks to the Bayside resident, who said the way Seoul is warming up to Pyongyang at the Olympics “could result in South Korea and the United States being ‘driven apart.’”

None of the North Korean woman’s ice hockey players, Han pointed out, were qualified to attend the Olympics.

“If they are not qualified, they should not attend the main games,” Han said in an email. “Sports should NOT be Politics!!!!!”

The Bayside resident said that he’s encouraged by Vice President Mike Pence’s plan to be at the Olympics, though.

“He will send a strong message to North Korea,” said Han, who believes that South Korean President Moon Jae-In is a “leftist” not acting in his country’s best interests.

Assemblyman Ron Kim of Flushing, who was born in South Korea, had a more optimistic view of the relationship between the two Koreas.

“I think it sends a tremendous message to the rest of the world, that both countries are trying their best to put the best foot forward in resolving this long conflict diplomatically,” said the assemblyman.

Among the older generation of Koreans in the borough, he pointed out, there’s less approval of how the two countries are working together for the games.

“The older, first generation of Korean Americans still have very negative feelings toward the North Korean country and they don’t want any association with them,” Kim said. The younger generation, he said, is happier about what could be a piecemeal step towards reunification.

“The youngsters, they don’t know,” said a Flushing resident. Go to Queens Chronicle to see what he had to say about being “occupied by the communists” and comments from other residents, including one who called the North Korean leader a “gangster” and her thoughts on what would be the best course of action for President Trump to take.

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