As North Korean Missile Launch Nears, Atlanta’s Korean Community Protests

Members of Atlanta’s Korean community Thursday protested a planned long-range rocket launch by North Korea. Thirty or so first-generation South Koreans gathered at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta and held signs in protest.

North Korean officials have said they will defy international warnings and launch the rocket no later than Monday. 

Travis Kim of the Korean American Association of Greater Atlanta says a launch would be highly provocative. He’d like to see China put more pressure on the North Koreans.

“We need to create a worldwide alliance in order to really force North Korea to stop those programs,” said Kim.

The heightened tension comes as North Koreans celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, who founded the nation in 1948.

Many of the protestors in Atlanta expressed deep concern about North Korea’s new leader, Kim Il Sung’s grandson, Kim Jong Un.

Here’s Travis Kim once again.

“He’s such a young person, which is good and bad; because he’s western educated, he could be open-minded. At the same time, because of his lack of experience, he could be very dangerous to the rest of the world.”  

North Korea officials claim the planned launch is to send a satellite into orbit. Therefore it won’t violate its agreement with the U.S. to halt its weapons program.

But U.S. officials say it’s a cover for a ballistic missile test.