If you’ve been following the news, you would have seen last week that the tension between North Korea and South Korea reached a boiling point.
Lee Myung-Bak’s administration and independent reports from the U.S. and Switzerland determined that a North Korean torpedo was responsible for the sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean naval corvette. The March 26 sinking on the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border between the Koreas, resulted in the death of 46 South Korean sailors and marked some of the biggest loss of life since the armistice 57 years ago.
There was a lot of talk of UN sanctions, cutting off relations and even talk of war.
The U.S. State Department, which sends updates via email from the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, doesn’t think there is anything to worry about for American citizens. As of now, there are no Travel Alerts or Travel Warnings for the Republic of Korea.
The Embassy’s current assessment of the security environment for U.S. citizens in Korea is that recent events do not pose an imminent threat to the public safety of the American community at this time. U.S. citizens residing or travelling in Korea should continue to pay close attention to current events, and monitor the Embassy website,http://seoul.usembassy.gov/, for any changes in the security environment.
So basically, there is no threat of war. With the the State Department placing more tourist-friendly places like Mexico, Thailand and the Philippines under their Current Travel Warnings system and not the Republic of Korea, I’m not too worried. Neither should anyone else.
Please encourage any U.S. citizens you know here to subscribe to our warden message system via the Embassy’s website at http://www.asktheconsul.org. This way they will receive all warden messages and information we send out via email.
It’s a good idea to sign up for the email service and follow the news closely. My co-teachers say they go through a diplomatic roller coaster every few years with the Koreas anyway.