Korean leaders' meeting sparks strong reaction in Chicago

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Chicago's Korean-American community and veterans who fought in the Korean War are reacting strongly to the fast-unfolding developments. (WLS)

Although the Korean leaders met a world away, Chicago's Korean-American community and veterans who fought in the Korean War are reacting strongly to the fast-unfolding developments between the two countries.

The meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sparked a wide range of emotions in Chicago.

At Joong Boo Korean market, you will hear skepticism about the historic moment.

"There is no way Kim Jong Un, after living a life as a tyrant, is going to give up his dictatorship," said James Chung, a cashier at the market, which is located just off the Kennedy Expressway in Avondale.

But just a foot away from Chung was a customer with the opposite viewpoint.

"It's a dream come true," said Jung Oh, a Glenview resident who happened to be shopping. Oh said anything is possible, pointing to the reunification of Germany as an example. He said it's a difficult process, but this could be the "beginning of North and South's reunification."

On the official side, Korea's consul general in Chicago held a news conference today, hosting local religious leaders, including Rev. Jesse Jackson. Jackson talked about a possible humanitarian mission to North Korea, saying this may be the right time to strike and try to help families that have been separated for years.

"What we look forward to, frankly, is the day of family reunification," Rev. Jackson said. We've had parents, and grandparents and cousins who have waited for a half century."

Right now, there is no diplomatic relationship or peace treaty between the two countries. However, after the meeting, officially ending the war is one of the top topics.

"Technically, Korea is still at war since the end of the Korean War, so we have to change this," said Jong-Kook Lee, Korea's consul general in Chicago.

The Korean War involved U.S. service members, and many are watching the latest now as they live in Chicago.

"I think it's something that should have happened a long time ago," said James Reynolds, a Korean War veteran who served in an Army heavy artillery unit.

Floyd Sales, another Korean War veteran, was wounded in the war. "Myself, I was wounded during the Korean War," said Sales, "so I have mixed emotions about the two meeting. But, like I said, I hope it works out for the best."
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politicsnorth koreasouth koreapoliticsu.s. & world
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