Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Korean Hostilities Ignored

Received this morning from the Korea Tourism Organization LA Office (Newsletter):
"Please be assured that it is completely safe for foreign visitors to enjoy their tour in South Korea even though there is a bit of tension between South and North Korea over the sinking of a South Korean ship. A daily average of 20,000 foreigners continue to visit Korea without any inconvenience or exposure to any type of harm. If you have any questions about the safety of traveling in Korea, please feel free to contact us, and we will do our best to provide you with the most accurate information. Thank you."

I was in South Korea last week, and the great majority of people are (as typically) unconcerned about the possibilities of sudden hostilities.

This does not mean there's no danger. Most people in Seoul and throughout South Korea live with strong urgency, busy being busy; onward & upward, often to unknown purpose. "Groupthink" is strong. Many cultures systemically ignore or neglect warnings & problems, but the security threat on the Korean peninsula is substantial. If trouble occurs, the foreign tourist is highly exposed, without good survival tools, liable to harm from any direction.

North Korea is unpredictable, and KTO's "bit of tension" could suddenly erupt into shooting or invasion. As mentioned, I was there last week. But make no mistake, there's danger of death or injury; the threat is recently elevated.