Local Koreans react to Trump's tough talk, North Korea's threats

U.S. President Donald Trump, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (DoD / CC BY 2.0 / KCNA)

At Alex Kim's flower shop in the heart of our Asian community, Mr. Kim does what he's done for 23 years: create beauty.

He came here from Seoul more than three decades ago.

He has family still there and just talked to them, "a couple days ago," he told me at his business on Spring Mountain Road.

His English may be broken, but his meaning is clear.

“If war start, I'm sure a lot of people will be dying,” Kim says.

It is that prospect that has Las Vegas' Korean community -- 25,000 strong -- worried that a war that never officially ended ... could resume.

RELATED LINK | Trump touts nuke strength as Tillerson urges calm on NKorea

A dictator and his missiles ... facing off against a new president in Washington.

On this Wednesday, Oliver Lee was at a meeting of the Korean Association of Las Vegas.

I asked him if he’s worried about the escalating rhetoric and threats of conflict.

“Very, very concerned. I grew up in Korea until my 22 years,” Lee says.

He’s called Las Vegas home for more than 30 years. It's time for the U.S. to get tough, he says.

“We do need some sort of action to show the more powerful -- like President Trump said it -- fury and fire,” Lee said.

On Tuesday, at his resort in New Jersey, the President responded to reports that North Korea had made a technological advance experts thought was a few years away: the ability to miniaturize a nuclear weapon to fit in the nosecone of a ballistic missile. That report, on top of the North’s recent successful missile tests, prompted Mr. Trump to launch a verbal assault of his own.

RELATED LINK | Trump warns North Korea of 'fire and fury' as attack on Guam threatened

“They will be met with fire, fury, power the likes of which this world has never seen,” the President said, threatening a nuclear response should North Korea hit first.

In Henderson, few know Korea better than 84-year-old Chuck Johnson, the head of the Korean War Veterans Association Chapter 329. He fought there as a young 17-year-old in 1950, one of the 5.7 million Americans sent to the conflict that they later called “the forgotten war.”

“We were fighting in summer clothes in the middle of winter, 50 degrees below zero and trying to survive fighting and living,” Johnson told me.

He does not trust the North's young leader, Kim Jong Un.

“He will do just about anything if he has a chance to do it,” Johnson says.

He says fighting should be a last option that should not be taken off the table.

“Somewhere down the road, it’s going to have to be contained. How that happens – could it be diplomatically? – we’ve tried a lot of things, but is it working?” he asked.

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