FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Many Korean-Americans say they are optimistic yet cautious about the planned meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“It’s not just American lives at stake, but also South Korean and North Korean citizens. There’s a lot at stake,” Christina Kim told CBS2’s Alice Gainer.
She was born in South Korea and has an uncle who fled North Korea.
“He was 10 maybe, and he had to escape and he ran down,” Kim said.
While her relatives in South Korea are skeptical of the meeting, she and other members of the Korean community in Fort Lee, New Jersey are hopeful.
“Cautiously hopeful,” said Joseph Chu, senior pastor of Christ Community Church. “Of course there’s reason to be skeptical. But in the bigger picture, if we’re a few steps away from a nuclear incident and from something terrible happening, that’s good for us.”
“Very surprised. It was unexpected,” Warren Park, of Saddle River, said.
“A little bit of concerns on how each politician would go about this, because you do have to be a bit cautious,” a woman added.
The first glimmer of hope for some Korean-Americans came during the Olympics, which brought athletes from both North and South Korea together.
“The Olympics were sort of the genesis for this whole talk, because Kim Jong Un’s sister was there and they were able to talk with the other South Korean officials,” said Park.
Beyond the hope of denuclearizing North Korea through diplomatic talks, many have another wish.
“If we could unify North and South Korea, that would be great. The Korean War ended 65 years ago and it officially never has ended,” Park said.
As for how Chu thinks the meeting truly came about?
“Possibly seeing a little bit of fear, which is good. Healthy fear on their side shows us that they are sane and that they don’t want an incident with the United States, or South Korea, or China or any of our allies,” he told Gainer.
Unlike the Winter Games, North and South Korean athletes did not march together in the opening ceremony of the Paralympics on Friday. They had separate flags, not a united banner.