South Koreans Unfazed by North's Sabre Rattling

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SEOUL, South Korea -- The news images have gripped our television screens for weeks: North Koreans on their march to war against America, South Korea and Japan, with threats of nuclear annihilation.
 
But spend an afternoon in Myeongdong, the busy shopping center in the heart of Seoul, South Korea, and you get the feeling the West is more concerned about North Korea than most South Koreans.
 
After so many years of living with their unpredictable neighbor, South Koreans are rather indifferent to the so-called crisis on the Korean peninsula. Consequently, you have a regular, normal day on the streets of Seoul.
 
The shops are full; the streets are packed with people spring shopping, and the traffic in Seoul is still a nightmare! 
 
"We've heard the North Korean rhetoric for years. They blustered last year and the year before and the year before," one man told CBN News.
 
It's all too familiar a drumbeat to the young and old alike.
 
"We call it political blackmail. The North Koreans threaten war and eventually the West and our government will give in to more concessions, more food, more oil, more stuff for them," one woman said.
 
But the South Korean government isn't taking any chances. First responders held an anti-terror drill at a subway station in Seoul this week.
 
"Our military is closely monitoring North Korean military movement and are ready to act," Kim Min-Seok of the South Korean Defense Ministry said. "If North Korea takes any kind of self-justified action against South Korea, we will thoroughly and firmly punish them."
 
Although the North's sabre rattling isn't unusual, some worry the tirades against South Korea and the United States have been particularly shrill this year. And unlike past standoffs, experts worry the North is closer to a nuclear weapon and long-range missile capability.
 
"We've become numb to the threats and that's not good," one woman said. "This time is also different because we're dealing with new leadership in North Korea and that should concern for us."
 
South Koreans are clearly not oblivious to what's going on in the North. But for now, life goes on, even with the constant reminder of a neighbor that's regularly bent on getting the world's attention.

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